The ocean, a place of longing

The oceans are essential for our survival, but are also under increasing danger from climate change. Four researchers report on problems and solutions.

The oceans hold a strong fascination for humans.
The oceans hold a strong fascination for humans. www.uli-kunz.com

Tom Vierus, photographer, filmmaker and marine biologist

Tom Vierus
Tom Vierus www.tomvierus.com

“The oceans are the heart and lungs of our blue planet. They regulate our climate by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide, among other things. It is precisely this mechanism, however, that also makes them so susceptible to the effects of climate change. The increase in carbon dioxide is making the water more acidic and rising water temperatures are endangering the habitats of countless species of fish and corals.

Our oceans greatest problem is systematic overfishing. That’s why it’s important to buy only local and sustainable fish. If you would like to give the oceans a breather, the best thing you can do is completely forego eating fish.”

Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen, deep-sea researchers

Kirsten & Joachim Jakobsen
Kirsten & Joachim Jakobsen Rebikoff-Niggeler Stiftung

“We can dive up to 1,000 metres deep into the Atlantic with our research submersible LULA1000, which we operate as part of the Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation. It is especially fascinating that the deeper zones of the oceans are still very much unresearched. However, the ocean warming and increasing acidification are leading to disorders in marine ecosystems. A great deal of basic research into the ocean is still required – above all, with regard to the effects changes in climate will have on ecosystems like the deep sea.

Germany can assume a pioneering role in ocean research. It could, for example, push for the creation of a European Ocean Agency, comparable with the European Space Agency.”

Uli Kunz, research diver, expedition leader and photographer

Uli Kunz
Uli Kunz www.uli-kunz.com

“The whole world, and not just individual countries, must act now. We must put our society on a more tolerable course for the Earth. That means lower consumption, reduced energy use and producing the energy we need from renewable power sources – for example, wind and solar.

Although we humans are bringing about massive changes in the oceans and taking many living organisms to the edge of extinction, the underwater world continues to be a wild and primordial place. Every dive is an adventure. Many people talk about space research and our journey to new planets, but we must first understand the interrelationships on our own planet and preserve the natural environment in which we live.”

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