All You Have To Do Is Just One Thing

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A trip to my local book store this morning was rewarded with an exceptional find, The Universe Below by Broad. I cannot wait to delve into this tasty treat. Broad reminds me of an often too forgotten concept, the deep sea is the largest of habitat on earth. Randomly place a point on our planet and it would be deep sea. In our daily activities so far removed from this environment, we begin to think all the earth is like our tiny, little corner. We begin to think this is all there is. Broad wonderfully places our lives and space into perspective with a simple diagram (recreated above).

By volume, land makes up only 0.5% of the earth and the shallow seas 21%. The deep is 78.5%. That thin, little red strip at 0.5% represents the part we’ve explored. Every day will yield something new as we continue to explore this remote vastness.

Unfortunately if I redrew the figure above, replacing the part we’ve explored with a wedge of the percentage of the deep sea we have affected, it would be much larger. We are beginning to have a detrimental impact on the deep, perhaps the last pristine part of planet. Mining, overfishing, dumping of our waste, chemical-laced runoff from our daily activities, impacts of climate change, are beginning to change the environment I love. Although we know little of this environment, our presence is already there. I urge you in 2008 to help us fight for the deep sea by continuing to inform yourself and becoming active.

In 2008, every week or so I will ask you to do just one thing (The Just One Thing Challenge). It will be a small request but our combined efforts will be large. Just last year by teaming up, we funded several classrooms to help educate youth about our oceans. Hopefully over time, we will add to our ranks and our impact will grow.

Today I cheat and ask you two things for the coming week. First, if you are willing to accept my challenge I ask for a bit of your time to post a note below saying so. This is important so I know people care and to let others know there is a community of us concerned. Second, I ask you to keep reading DSN and stick with the challenge through 2008.

Dr. M (1628 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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39 comments on “All You Have To Do Is Just One Thing
  1. I suspect that “land” figure is wrong. We keep finding primative life deeper and deeper in the rocks. The volume keeps growing.

    About, even deep sea life being affected, welcome to the anthropocene. Some geologists are saying the Holocene is over, as we are now the primary driver of change on the planet.

  2. Like we need another bit of plastic in the world, Kevin. [/tongue in cheek]

    Well, I guess I can agree to those two challenges. We’ll see how far I can go with further challenges.

  3. Ok. I’m with you. Reading DSN is out of my field, but I’m interested, so whatever I can do, I will.
    Good Luck!!

  4. When do we build a raft city? It’s a better way to live in the sea without the HUGE pressure that under water cities must endure.
    Every few months we can vote on what weather we want to have and just sail to the right coordinates on the globe.

    It shouldn’t be too tough to construct. I’ve read about a water treatment / nuclear power plant that floats on the water. It might be it!

  5. As I move more of my own fisheries research into the mesopelagic, it’s probably only a matter of time before I start in on the bathypelagics too — count me in for the DSN 2008 challenge.

  6. As long as these challenges don’t involve eating disgusting things like on Fear Factor, I’m game.

    I’m currently reading DSN from my field site in the remote South Pacific, by DIAL-UP…because I’m that kind of geek.

  7. I really apreaciate you because you really care about ocean and sea life. Oceans are important for the planet and human civilisation. Not only that provides food, but oceans are the main factor in climate change. For whom is insterested in the matter, visit http://www.1ocean-1climate.com

  8. I’m in.

    Also, am I allowed to extend some of your ideas and suggestions for change at work? (Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre?)

  9. Wait… the planet is made of water, with the land floating on top? Methinks there’s something wrong here…

  10. You know what, I’m ready to make a change or two (or 52?) too. I’m already off the Tuna – what else have you got. I’m in!

  11. Outeast,
    It’s by volume not by area. Area would look different but the deep-sea floor would still be the winner.

    Big Tom,
    The land figure may be wrong as you stated “We keep finding primative life deeper and deeper in the rocks”. But the there is no reason to consider that the deeper and deeper we begin to sample into the ocean floor the volume won’t grow to. For land it would have to be considerable to account change the figures above.

  12. I’m in as well. I’ll do my best to meet the challenges. & absolutely yes on the keep reading DSN.

  13. Great to have everyone on board and I just want to say its never too late! Anyone can tag along on the Just One Thing train at anytime.

  14. I just hopped on the JOT train…trying challenge #4 this week – Buy organic when it’s an option. I love DSN; it’s one of my favorite webescapes.

  15. I’m in… I think you got me with the cage match with Oprah’s people later this year. ;)

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