Under the Sea

When I was 10 years old my dad kept me home from school one day and took me instead to our favorite place, the beach. We went stand up paddle boarding that day, the water was calm and it’s deepest shade of summer blue. That was the day I saw a dolphin in the wild for the first time.

We’ve all done the whole Seaward thing, seen them in shows or in their tanks, but this was different. This was a beautiful, free creature swimming around my board making its happy giggling sounds. I was scared at first, nervous that one of us would end up getting hurt, and almost began to paddle away, but then another joined it, and the two happily dove off together. Those two dolphins were the most amazing and joyful creatures I, to this day, have ever seen. I would love to believe those two dolphins swam away to enjoy a lovely life under the sea, but unfortunately, according to recent statistics, odds are those dolphins were killed by human interaction.

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Just like humans, whales and dolphins rely on sound communication. A huge contributor to the decrease in sea life is noise pollution. Large oil corporations use seismic noise to find oil or gas underwater, which largely disrupts the life of whales and dolphins, sometimes forcing them to move to quieter yet unsafe areas, or even injuring them. Companies will set off as many as 40 of these seismic air guns at one time, filling the sea with a storm of gunfire. These large oil corporations are similar to an annoying little brother with an airhorn. Loud, frustrating, incapable of listening, and finding joy in your anger.

The worst part about this situation is the lack of restrictions on noise pollution, and by lack, I mean none. Right now, there are no legal standards on noise pollution and no representatives for the helpless animals in our oceans. Many people are becoming more aware and informed of chemical pollution and ways to stop our trash from ending up in oceans, which is amazing, yet no one knows that what we can’t even see is much higher a threat. When a plane goes overhead, the people below usually take notice and sometimes must halt their activities due to this distraction. Depending on how loud the plane is, you might even find some young children crying or trying to plug their ears to avoid the noise.

This reaction is similar to that of sea creatures underwater when a large boat passes overhead. Propellors, engines, internal mechanics, and its radiating hull all stuff up our oceans and leave a constant low frequency energy. Whales are beginning to become extremely stressed from this, and rightfully so, no one would be able to eat, sleep, talk to your family, or focus when permanently front row at an ACDC concert. The issue of noise pollution is not something that must be proven, it already has more than enough proof supporting its negative consequences, but it must become more important. Right now, I would be wiling to bet that the average person knows more about Brad Pitt’s marital past then they do pollution. Environmentalists need to bring their studies and statistics to the public, and make these issues known to the world so we can start doing something about it.

The resources necessary to build quieter ships do exist, yet no one is committed to advancing or even using them full time. Same with an alternative to seismic guns, it has been created, but lacks support or care in the world of oil. If you’re reading this, I challenge you to research on your own, find petitions to sign, share this with your friends, and become committed to those two dolphins I saw six years ago.