Water is home to millions of species, ranging from micron-sized organisms to blue whales up to 30 metres long and 200 tonnes in weight. Every year, new species are discovered in the ocean’s depths. The oceans and seas also play an important role in global climate: they are the largest carbon sink, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Ocean currents aid in the warming and cooling of various regions, making them more habitable. Warm sea evaporation can fall as rain or snow across the globe, sustaining life on land. Water is not only a necessity for our bodies but it is also a resource that we use daily. We use it at home for cooking, cleaning, showering, and flushing. Water is used in the production of our food, clothes, mobile phones, automobiles, and books.
We use water to build houses, schools, and roads, as well as to heat and cool power plants. We light our cities and homes with the electricity generated by its movement. To cool off on a hot summer day, we dive into the sea or take a walk by a lake.
Water can also be used to connect and transport people and goods. It provides a global natural transportation network, connecting not only coastal cities but also inland cities along navigable rivers, facilitating global trade. Ships may transport our T-shirts, coffee beans, or laptops produced in the Americas, Africa, or Asia to Europe. Water, in other words, is present in every aspect of our lives.
Unfortunately, the way we use and treat this precious resource has an impact not only on our health but also on all life that depends on water. Pollution, over-exploitation, physical changes to water habitats and climate change continue to erode water quality and availability.