What is an ocean?
An ocean (from Greek Ωκεανός, Okeanos (Oceanus)) is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 72% of the Earth's surface (an area of some 361 million square kilometers) is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas. More than half of this area is over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (ppt) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ppt. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean)
- Oceans provide us with fish and shellfish, the world’s greatest sources of dietary protein.
- Ocean flora and fauna provide life-saving pharmaceuticals such as anti-cancer drugs.
- The oceans’ algae absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen on a massive scale . These tiny species contribute directly to the air we need to breathe.
- Oceans and their creatures connect us to our rich cultural heritage though history, music, and stories.
- Ocean shores provide opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and spiritual renewal.
Oceans Day, June 8, was declared in 1992 at the United Nations Earth Summit. The purpose of Oceans Day is to raise awareness about the life-sustaining role of oceans and to inspire people to take better care of them.Our responsibility
- Oceans are essential to life.
- Watersheds—streams, lakes, rivers, and wetlands—empty into oceans, forming vital transportation links.
- Oceans influence our social, economic, historical, international, and political development.
- Oceans are threatened by pollution, particularly from the land.
- Protecting and promoting oceans is our global and civic responsibility.