The ocean food chain is an upside-down pyramid.

Marine life is the root of the food chain and the life support system for the entire planet. The oceans regulate the climate and control our atmosphere through bioclimatic factors.

Climate change is anthropogenic, and carbon dioxide is implicated, but is relatively minor in comparison to the destruction of nature on land and marine life in the world’s oceans.

In 2022, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean in our sailing vessel Copepod, along with 30 other yachts, collecting water samples from the surface of the Atlantic Ocean every 12 hours at approximately 15 degrees north from the Canary Islands to the Eastern Caribbean. It was the largest citizen science project to measure microplastic pollution and plankton productivity from the ocean surface. More than 5000 samples were collected and are still being analysed. The results confirmed that plankton levels were 90% lower than expected, and pollution from plastic and partially combusted carbon gave up to 1000 particles per litre of water from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, levels 50 times more polluted than expected. Thermal plastic and lipophilic toxic chemicals float on the surface, but most oceanographic research measure water quality below 5m, so the pollution is entirely missed.

Our research and citizen science was slammed by the academic establishment and misrepresented.  A recent report published in Nature is now beginning to ask the same questions, published by one of the laboratories that criticised our research.

The food web on land is like a pyramid, with plants and herbivores at the base. In marine ecosystems, plants and zooplankton are also on the base, but the pyramid is upside down. This means that a small change at the base can have a huge impact at the top. This is called trophic amplification of phytoplankton decline; a phytoplankton decline of 7.5% will result in a drop in fish biomass of 19%. Plankton populations are changing; there has been more than a 50% decline since 1970, and our measurements show a 90% decline for the Equatorial Atlantic.

We have linked the decline to pollution, which has resulted in an increase in temperature and a reduction in cloud formation, as explained in our report.

The work is now being supported by a second new publication:

We know that black carbon pollution in the Arctic causes 25%+ of all snow and ice melt due to the darker colour of the snow. Pollution is also impacting aerosol formation and cloud colour. Aerosols and clouds also carry pollution from the ocean to every square metre of the planet. This is why every litre of rainwater now contains plastic and toxic chemicals.

80% of the world has zero effluent treatment for municipal and industrial toxic waste. When will we learn that the solution to pollution and climate change is not to defecate and destroy nature and the life support system for the planet?

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