Yuyoshi Naoki is keen to read. He is known as a “reading artist” in Japan and won the Akutagawa Award. His book “One Hundred Views of Tokyo” is composed of 100 short essays. The book records his journey from Osaka to Tokyo at the age of 18. After 10 years of working hard for the dream of an artist, he has traveled all corners of Tokyo in 10 years, and his memories and emotions are dotted with it. “Hundred Views of Tokyo” has a strong personal touch, and Naoki Yoshiki admires the writer Osamu Dazai. Because of his work of “The Eight Views of Tokyo”, he named his book “Hundred Views of Tokyo”.
I started exploring the ocean 50 years ago. At that time, even people including Jacques Behan, Jacques Cousteau, and Rachel Carson thought: no matter what humans throw into the sea, no matter what humans get from the sea Nothing will cause any harm to the sea. At that time, the sea was like a garden of Eden, but now we all understand that the sea is changing from the Garden of Eden to a paradise lost.
Here, I want to share my personal insights with you, discuss the ocean changes that affect mankind, and consider the following questions with you: The earth has lost more than 90% of the large fish in the ocean in 50 years, why this change Important? Why should we care about corals that have nearly half disappeared? Why is the mysteriously depleted oxygen in large areas of the Pacific Ocean not only closely related to dying creatures, but also closely related to you and me?
No one can survive without water
For me, becoming a scientist started in 1953, when I dived for the first time that year, and realized for the first time that fish should never just swim in lemon slices and butter. To be honest, I especially like diving into the depths of the ocean at night, because at night I can see many fish that I can’t see during the day.
American oceanographer Silvia A. Earle has been committed to the research and protection of marine ecology.
In 1979, I got a chance to leave my footprints on the bottom of the sea. At that time, I was driving the single-man submersible “Jim” (Jim), and I drove it to dive 381 meters below the sea, 9656 meters (6 miles) off the coast of Hawaii. The submersible “Jim” is one of my favorite diving equipment. Since 1979, I have shared about 30 types of diving equipment. I also founded three companies and a non-profit organization called Deep Search, all of which are designed and manufactured to explore the deep sea. I once led a five-year National Geographic Society project-Sustainable Ocean Expeditions, when we used small submersibles. These small submersibles are quite easy to operate, so scientists can operate them themselves, and I am a living example.
Astronauts and divers can truly appreciate the importance of air, food, water, temperature, and all the elements that can ensure human survival in space and ocean. I have heard astronaut Joe Allen explain how he learns everything related to the life support system as much as possible, and then does his best to take care of the life support system. Then he pointed to this (earth) and said: “This is the life support system.” We need to learn everything about the earth and do our best to protect it. The poet WH Auden once said: “Without love, countless people can still survive; without water, no one can survive.”
The ocean accounts for about 97% of the earth’s total water. Without blue, there would be no green. If you think that the ocean is not important, then imagine an earth without oceans. Did you think of Mars?
Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by the ocean. For a long time, the ocean has absorbed and stored most of the organic carbon on the earth. This process is mainly done by microorganisms. The ocean can regulate climate and weather, stabilize temperature, and shape the chemical structure of the earth. Water from the ocean forms clouds and then falls back to land and oceans in the form of rain, hail and snow. The ocean is home to about 97% of the living things in the world and perhaps the universe.
What happens without water? Without water, there is no life. Without blue, there would be no green. However, now human beings have the idea that the entire earth-including the ocean and the sky-is so wide and so resilient that what humans do will not affect the earth. This idea may be true 10,000 years ago, or even a thousand years ago. But in the last 100 years (especially the last 50 years), human beings have consumed too many life resources on which they depend for survival-air, water and wild animals.
New technologies are helping us understand the nature of nature, understand the nature of everything that is happening, and show us the human impact on the earth. First of all, we must be aware of the existence of the problem. Fortunately, in this era, we know more about the problem than in any previous historical period. We can fly across Hawaii and see the real Hawaiian Islands. Not only can you see a small part of the surface of the ocean, but you can also see the underwater world and see what the whales see. We can also explore the other side of the Hawaiian Islands and swim in the sea with humpback whales. Humpback whales are gentle behemoths, and I have had pleasant head-on encounters with them on the ocean floor many times. The feeling of being examined by a whale in person is the most wonderful thing in the world!
We can speed up and fly to the deepest part of the ocean floor, the Mariana Trench 7 miles (11 kilometers) below. At present, only two people in the world have personally visited the Mariana Trench. Think about it, only 7 miles deep, but only two people have been there in person, and it was 49 years ago. One-way travel is always easier. We need new deep-sea submersibles. Like the Google Lunar X Grand Prix, let’s hold a competition for ocean exploration. What do you think? We need to look at the deep sea trenches, to look at the submarine mountains, to understand the creatures in the deep sea.
Deep sea crisis
Just ten years ago, I stood on the ice at the North Pole. But in the 21st century, there will be an Arctic Ocean without ice. This is bad news for polar bears and bad news for humans. Excessive carbon dioxide will not only cause global warming, but also change the chemistry of the ocean, making the ocean more acidic. This is bad news for coral reefs and oxygen-producing phytoplankton, and it is also bad news for humans.
We are dumping hundreds of millions of tons of plastic and other garbage into the ocean, and millions of tons of discarded fishing nets and hooks will continue to kill marine life; we are clogging the ocean and poisoning the earth’s circulatory system; we are moving from the earth Killing millions of wild animals — all animals are life based on carbon; we are savagely killing sharks just for shark fin soup.
The food chain shapes the geochemistry and promotes the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle and water cycle, which are all human life support systems. But it is unbelievable that we are still hunting bluefin tuna. In fact, bluefin tuna is on the verge of extinction, and the value of live tuna is much higher than that of dead tuna.
We use long-line fishing, which can attract fish 50 miles and beyond. Commercial trawlers and small trawlers scrape the seabed like bulldozers, scraping away everything they pass. Using Google Earth, we can witness the fishing activities of trawlers in China, in the North Sea, and in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing for marine life with trawlers is shaking our life support system, leaving countless dead bodies wherever it passes.
Next time you enjoy sushi, sashimi, swordfish steak, shrimp cups, or any marine wildlife you happen to be eating, think about the real price behind it. Because for every pound of fish that goes to the market, more than ten pounds or even more than one hundred pounds of by-catch is thrown away. Ninety percent of the large fish in the ocean have been killed, and most of the turtles, sharks, tuna and whales are declining. But there is still good news: 10% of the large fish are still alive, there are some blue whales on the planet, some krill in Antarctica, and a few oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Half of the coral reefs are also in good condition. These coral reefs surround the middle of the earth like a jewel belt.
Now, we still have some time to turn things around. But if everything is business as usual, then this means that in 50 years the earth may no longer have coral reefs, and there will be no fisheries, because the fish have been caught. Imagine an ocean without fish, and imagine what this means for life support systems.
In 1872, the United States began to establish a park system, represented by Yellowstone National Park. Some people think that this system is one of the greatest ideas in the history of the United States. Now, about 12% of the world’s land is protected-protecting biodiversity, providing carbon sinks, producing oxygen and protecting waters.
In 1972, the United States began to establish a similar protection system in the sea, the National Marine Protected Area. This is another great idea. The good news is that there are now more than 4,000 marine protected areas in the world, and we can find them on Google Earth; the bad news is that you need to be careful to find these places. For example, the United States has designated 340,000 square miles of ocean as a national marine protected area in the past three years. But in a global sense, the United States only increased the protected marine area from 0.6% to 0.8% of 1% of the ocean area.
Scientists around the world and I have been paying attention to 99% of the ocean, where fishing, mining, drilling, and dumping of garbage are still allowed. We are trying to find a “sea of hope” from it, trying to find some ways to provide a safe future for marine life and mankind. For example, in the Arctic region, we still have the opportunity to remedy everything. Another example is the Antarctic region, where the continent is protected, but the krill, whales and fish in the surrounding ocean are being overfished.
The 3 million square miles of “floating forest” in the Sargasso Sea is being harvested for cattle breeding; 97% of the land of the Galapagos Islands is protected, but the surrounding waters are being destroyed by fishing; the same is true in Argentina. The Patagonian shelf is now in a dire situation. In fact, in the high seas, whales, tuna, and dolphins are swimming among them; in the largest and least protected ecosystem on the earth, there are full of light-emitting creatures, and they are in a dark space with an average depth of two miles. The light of your own life lights up the ocean.
There are still unspoiled pristine areas in the ocean that I knew from a young age. The next ten years may be the most important period of the next ten thousand years. This ten years may be the best opportunity for mankind to protect the remaining natural systems on which it depends. In order to deal with climate change, we need new ways of generating energy; we need better ways to deal with poverty, war and disease; we still have to do a lot to protect the world and make the world a better home. However, if the ocean is not protected, then all this is meaningless. The destiny of mankind is closely related to the ocean. How much of the ocean should be protected? Some say 10%, some say 30%. In fact, the amount of protection is up to you. But in any case, it is certainly not enough that marine protected areas account for only 1% of the entire ocean area of the earth.
My wish is very grand. Once it is achieved, the world will change for it. And this wish can also ensure that my favorite species-humans-continue to survive.
For the children of today, for the children of tomorrow, seize the opportunity and act now!