Phys. Oceanogr., Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 381-382 (1999) 9 VSP 2000. UI[SC For modern science, the seais the very source of life on Earth. It is, so to speak, the amniotic fluid from which all living forms spring. Throughout history, the oce- ans have been vital to the human civilization--as a resource base, as a route to other lands and other peoples, or as an outlet for population overflow. Over 90 percent of the planet's living and nonliving resources are found within a few hundred kilome- ters of the coasts. On or near these coasts, live two-thirds of the world's people. Without the sea, life on Earth would be impossible. Our planet would be a barren desert like Mars about which, paradoxically, we probably know more than we do about the oceans. For the human imagination, the sea has always been a symbol of vastness and freedom. Now, at the close of the second millennium, the competition for scarce re- sources is showing this freedom to have its limits. Growing demand is placing the marine environment and resources under increasing strain. History teaches that scar- city can be the cause of conflicts and wars. However, it may be
Physical Oceanography – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 27, 2006
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