Here at Glasshouse we have spoken frequently about the plight of the oceans and the plastics problem that is taking over (or filling up) our seas. From fashion to beauty, we’re constantly looking for new ways to reduce our plastic consumption, and as this weekend is World Oceans Day, we wanted to celebrate everything that it provides and to share why it is worth saving.
Although it covers 70% of the earth’s service, the ocean is still mostly undiscovered - in fact we know more about Mars than we do about the ocean - but what we do know is that it is integral to our way of life and our existence. Where the popular phrase is that the rainforests are the ‘lungs of the earth’, it is actually the ocean that provides over 50% of the world’s oxygen, whilst also helping to preserve the delicate weather patterns across the globe. Without the ocean absorbing heat and transporting water and rain around the globe, areas of the planet would have such extreme weather they would become completely uninhabitable.
From a practical point of view, the seas provide a huge source of protein for most of the world, and even if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, seaweed-based snacks and some surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk are also reliant on the health of the ocean. In the medicine industry, ingredients that come from the sea are used in vital treatments for heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, and many scientists hope that undiscovered cures may be found at the bottom of the ocean in the future, but only if we keep them alive.
Alongside the scientific facts, the ocean’s undeniable beauty has provided inspiration for artists, poets, writers and ways of life across the earth. From Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse to Hokusai’s The Great Wave, the ocean has a huge significance in the world of art and has a place in every culture. Tourists flock to the coastline year after year in search of rest and recuperation, and even when we’re not at the beach we listen to the sound of waves for yoga, meditation or to soothe anxiety and help us sleep.
As most people are aware however, all this is threatened by the current environmental crises taking place across the globe. Carbon emissions are causing the oceans to warm rapidly; melting ice caps, bleaching coral reefs and leading to more extreme weather events. Our plastics consumption is also out of control, with around 8 million tonnes entering into the seas each year, causing damage to marine ecosystems and potentially unknown harm to our own food chain.
All in all, the ocean is a huge part of our lives, whether we realise it or not, which is why we believe it is worth every effort to preserve its natural beauty and keep its ecosystems thriving. Whilst the beauty industry is one of the top 6 contributors to plastic pollution, initiatives such as Zero Waste beauty or reducing the number of beauty products we use day to day can help each of us minimise the environmental impact of our routines. You can also take a look at our recent Plastics article here for a more in depth look at the topic.
Featured image: Thea Lovstad
Words: Phoebe Grace Ede