The Technology Helping to Conserve Marine Wildlife
The effort to conserve marine wildlife and save our oceans is helped by the technological advances being made in several different areas.
It might not seem obvious, but there is a connection between new virtual reality technology and conservation efforts, as well as other technology like advanced GPS and vegan shrimp! The ocean is vast, covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface and making up 97% of the planet’s water; therefore, any problems with the ocean are everyone’s problems. We can’t survive without it and everything that it provides, so it’s up to us to work towards conserving it. New technology is providing us with the tools to make a real difference and hopefully get the ocean back into shape for future generations.
The Ocean Cleanup
The brainchild of Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup has been operating as a concept since 2013. Concerned with the amount of plastics building up in the world’s seas, Slat thought up a solution for removing the harmful plastics without causing further injury to sealife. The Ocean Cleanup acts as an enormous unmanned clean up net that, rather than being manually trawled through the seas, floats passively on the surface and moves along with the currents. It extends downwards in a sort of skirt to prevent debris from escaping but doesn’t trap any marine life that happens to be in the area. Slat and his team are hoping to remove as much as half of the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years with this non-invasive method.
Another of the oceans’ biggest problems, besides waste plastics, is the fishing industry. Overfishing certain areas or certain types of marine life, coupled with damaging fishing practices, means that many species have come close to extinction and many areas of biodiversity are dying out. Enter the new wave of alternative seafoods, made from natural substances like sustainable seaweed or harvested red algae. It may not sound that appetising right now, but New Wave Foods are just one company making tasty vegan shrimp made entirely from plants. Changing the way that we eat and being more mindful of how harmful our diets could be to the planet is one way of helping the ocean out; replacing traditional seafood with more sustainable, plant-based options seems like a win-win situation for everyone.
Electronic tagging and GPS
Although electronic tagging is certainly not unknown in conservation circles, with the development of better, longer lasting tagging and GPS technology, scientists are able to keep closer tabs on rare or endangered animals and their habitats. With the data collected from such tagging initiatives, a better picture can be painted of which areas require the most immediate action and whereabouts marine life is coming into contact with harmful human activity. It can even help to map out fishing areas; this gives a clearer overall image of how the area is functioning, as well as keeping a closer eye on the practices being used there. This can prevent overfishing and illegal fishing, whilst supporting those practices that are sustainable and law abiding.
Screen life and real life are getting closer together these days, whether that means VR rollercoasters at Alton towers, live tables at Pokerstarscasino or online personal shoppers at Lookiero. So it won’t come as much of a surprise that VR could be used to offer a realistic alternative to tourists visiting hotspots like the Great Barrier Reef and unwittingly causing significant damage to the ecosystem there. If people are able to experience these wonders of nature found under the waves without actually diving down there, then the oceans and their inhabitants can be left to rebuild themselves in peace. It’s vitally important that fragile beings like coral are given the time and space to recover from years of intrusion; VR could offer the perfect opportunity to give them just that.
One way in which we can help the ocean is to harness some of its immense energy. Alternative energy sources from the world’s seas can include wave or tidal energy as well as off shore wind farms. By using less materials and working with the Earth’s natural energy supply, we can help to lessen the negative impact on the ocean that is an inevitable side effect of using fossil fuels and nuclear power. Tidal energy in particular is a sustainable, low impact, green option for energy supply that we will never run out of. Whilst many people are yet to be convinced of its viability due to cost and the necessary proximity to land of tidal energy stations, it’s certainly something to consider.
Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of how technology is helping us to fight for marine conservation and the continued protection of our oceans. As one of our most precious resources and a large part of the world that we live in, Earth’s oceans deserve our care and respect.