14 March 2022

Kids Alive! World: Looking after our oceans

Helping children live a healthy and an active lifestyle and care for their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing

Dolphins swimming under water
The Kids Alive! team helps us understand why are oceans are so important.
  • Share this article with children in your family or your children's worker at your corps so they can pass it on – you may find the advice helps you too!

The world’s oceans are amazing. They help keep the whole planet healthy.

Did you know?

Let’s start with some wonderful watery facts to see how much you already know about the world’s oceans:

  • Humans have lots in common with oceans. The world is made up of 70 per cent water and 70 per cent of the human body is made up of water too!
  • The world’s oceans produce 50 per cent of the planet’s oxygen – oxygen is crucial for living beings.

  • Oceans absorb around 30 per cent of Earth’s carbon dioxide, which helps lower the impacts of global warming.

  • The deepest known area of Earth’s oceans is called the Mariana Trench – its deepest point is 11,034 metres. That’s a very long dive down!

  • More than 200,000 species have been discovered in the world’s oceans. However, humans have only explored about five per cent of our oceans, so there are lots more to discover!

What's the problem?

According to research, oceans are now warmer than at any other time since humans have been recording their temperature.

Scientists believe that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and emissions from factories, are having a bad effect and releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere. Rising temperatures cause ice caps to melt, which has a devastating effect on creatures that live in the oceans or rely on them for food.

There’s also a big issue of plastic waste in oceans. Plastic waste includes food packaging, bags and toys that are thrown away. Unfortunately, a lot of this plastic waste ends up in the sea and is known as plastic pollution.

Plastic and rubbish at the bottom of the ocean

Plastic pollution kills marine wildlife and damages ecosystems (communities of living things, such as creatures and plants).

Overfishing the world’s oceans has also meant that many species are being removed from the water faster than they can be replaced naturally. Overfishing is the opposite to sustainable fishing and it’s a big problem.

Modern industrial fishing often uses huge boats known as super trawlers. These fishing boats can catch and carry thousands of tons of fish. If things continue the way they’re going, some experts believe the oceans may be close to empty by 2050 – that’s in just 29 years! So the oceans need our help and protection now more than ever!

How can you help?

The first step to helping to protect the world’s oceans is learning as much as possible about them.

There are lots of documentaries to watch, including David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. You can also visit websites, such as wwf.org.uk (World Wildlife Fund) and natgeokids.com/uk (National Geographic Kids).

There are also lots of ways to help reduce the impact of you and your family on Earth’s oceans. Here are some suggestions…

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle your plastic waste. Ask your parents or guardians to try to buy products that use as little plastic packaging as possible and make sure you recycle all the plastic items that need to be bought.
  • You can also reuse many plastic items, such as bags, food storage boxes and water bottles. There are even plastic-free alternatives for your bathroom – swap liquid handwash or shampoo for bars of soap and shampoo.
  • Never flush wet wipes down the toilet!
  • Reduce the amount of fish you eat and ask your parents or guardians to check food labels to make sure the fish they buy is marked as ‘sustainably sourced’.
  • Try to reduce the amount of harmful emissions your family adds to Earth’s atmosphere. This could include using less electricity (turn appliances off when you’re not using them) and walking places instead of being driven.
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