World Oceans Day: The Role of Technology in Our Quest for Ocean Conservation
"No water, no life. No blue, no green."
- Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer.
If the above statement is true, which is because we humans depend on the oceans to survive, why don't we then fight for our existence?
The Earth's oceans are facing unprecedented challenges due to human activities and climate change. Some of these challenges include plastic pollution. However, amid these challenges, technology has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight to preserve and protect our oceans. With innovative advancements in various fields, technology plays a crucial role in monitoring, understanding, and mitigating the impacts on marine ecosystems. In the following paragraphs, we'd be exploring the significant contributions of technology in the quest for ocean conservation.
Monitoring and Data Collection:
Technology enables us to gather essential data on oceanic conditions, thereby enhancing a deeper understanding of the marine ecosystem. Satellites equipped with remote sensing technology help to map the seafloor, monitor ocean temperatures, surface currents, and changes in sea levels, providing and valuable insights into climate patterns and the impacts of global warming. This helps to deliver timely and accurate ocean measurements and data globally.
Technological advancements have revolutionized our ability to explore and map the oceans' depths. Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) equipped with advanced imaging and sampling systems enable scientists to access remote and deep-sea environments. The use of these technologies has led to groundbreaking discoveries, such as the exploration of hydrothermal vents, which maintain the balance of the chemistry of oceans, and the mapping of previously unknown underwater mountain ranges.
Conservation and Restoration Efforts:
Technology plays a vital role in the conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms assist in analyzing large datasets, allowing researchers to identify and monitor vulnerable species, track migration patterns, and assess the health of coral reefs. For example, scientists are using AI to analyze underwater acoustic data to study and protect marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins.
Marine Pollution Management:
Technology offers innovative solutions for tackling the pervasive issue of marine pollution. Drones equipped with cameras and sensors aid in identifying and monitoring marine debris, enabling targeted cleanup efforts. Advanced water treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis and ultra violet disinfection, help mitigate the discharge of pollutants and ensure the quality of wastewater before it enters the oceans. Additionally, the use of biodegradable alternatives to plastic, are being developed to reduce marine pollution.
Sustainable Fishing Practices:
About 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted. It might interest you to know that commercial fishers throw away about 10 million tonnes of fishes they catch in their nets each year, according to this study. But technology has come to save the day as it plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable fishing practices. Satellites and GPS tracking systems enable the monitoring of fishing vessels, ensuring compliance with fishing regulations and preventing illegal fishing. The development of smart nets technology helps to identify the different species of fish and reduce fish waste. Integrated electronic monitoring systems utilize cameras and sensors onboard fishing vessels to provide accurate data on catch and bycatch, facilitating more effective fisheries management and conservation efforts.
Technology has become an indispensable ally in the ongoing battle to preserve and protect our oceans. Through enhanced monitoring capabilities, advanced exploration tools, and innovative solutions for conservation and pollution management, technology empowers scientists, policymakers, and individuals to make informed decisions and take effective action. However, it is crucial to continue investing in research and development, fostering collaborations, and promoting the responsible use of technology to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans. By harnessing the power of technology, we can work towards a harmonious coexistence with the oceans, preserving their invaluable ecosystems for our generation and the ones to come.
Queen Elizabeth III of England once said that "we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine."
Here are the following ways you can leverage technology as an individual to conserve the ocean;
Share informative articles, documentaries, or videos on social media platforms to raise awareness amongst your online community.
Stay updated on the latest news and research about ocean conservation. You can do this by subscribing to newsletters, reading blogs and following organizations, scientists, and experts working in the field on their social media platforms. Being well-informed will help you make better decisions and take appropriate actions.
Support organizations working to conserve the oceans. Look up some of these organizations on the internet and the work they're doing in marine conservation. It doesn't stop there. Most organizations have a section of their website dedicated to how you can get involved. You can donate to these organizations or volunteer for their projects.
Read more about how Tech Helps Protect Ocean Life and Livelihoods
Check out this commentary on how technology can help us achieve at least 30% ocean protection
Check out this list of 10 Technologies for Cleaner Oceans and Safer Sealife
WRITTEN BY Tomilayo Oluyamo
Tomi is an undergraduate Mass Communication student who is very interested in quality education, socio-political history, impact communications, and the social enterprise sector in Africa. She is an aspiring literary artist who enjoys working on impact-driven projects and hopes to pursue a career in international development. At the center of what she does is her belief in God and helping young Nigerians showcase their brilliance by creating access to transformative opportunities. An avid learner, Tomi is always open to exploring spaces and connecting with young people like her who are incredibly passionate about designing solutions and improving their communities.
EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer, and international development passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. Zulu Uwolloh is a lawyer and international development professional. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform, and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.
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