According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), up to 80% of the world's oceans are uncharted, unobserved, and unexplored. Oceanographers like to put it this way: We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the sea floor (1). That's finally starting to change, thanks to new tools and technologies that make it easier to explore hard-to-reach places like the Mariana Trench.
Over the past few decades, we have learned that our oceans play a much larger and more complex role in the health of our planet than previously thought. For example, we now know that 50-80% of the world's oxygen is produced by microscopic algae known as phytoplankton, which are floating in unmanageable numbers in the open ocean. We also know that this phytoplankton forms the basis of the entire oceanic food web. That means every marine creature on Earth depends on them in some way, from the smallest zooplankton to the largest blue whales (2).
These kinds of connections are invaluable for us to bring the global ecosystem back into balance. The same could also be true of the body's microbiomes, which we haven't explored in depth yet. While we may not find a microbe as universally important as phytoplankton in our ear microbiome or in our lung microbiome, we will most likely find that these diverse ecosystems play critical roles in our health.
And just like studying the oceans, we now have the technology to study and characterize more and more of the body's microbiomes with unprecedented accuracy and detail. This means we can go beyond simply identifying the unique microbes that call these places home and begin to unravel the mechanisms they use to interact with our human halves. After all, what matters is the functions the microbes perform in the body, not their classification or taxonomy. Like our exploration of the planet's little-studied ecosystems, our exploration of the lesser-known microbiomes of the human body may very well lead to new insights and actions that will improve (or even save) the lives of millions of people.
All mybacs products are linked to our partner CleanHub. More than 11 million tons of plastic waste enter our oceans each year (equivalent to one truckload per minute). Incorrectly managed plastic waste on this scale has a massive impact on our climate and health:
- Open burning of waste has a significant impact on the climate, equivalent to 2-10% of global CO2 emissions.
- Disposing of waste in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Microplastics in the sea hinder the ocean's natural ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
- Plastic kills millions of animals every year. Almost 700 species are directly affected by plastics.
- Tiny bits of plastic enter the oceans food chain as sea creatures mistake these fragments for food - and soon end up on our plates.
To prevent further damage, we must work to ensure that the best anti-plastic methods are deployed in the regions that suffer most. That's why our new Eco Jar is made of the innovative material Sulapac, making it 100% biodegradable, and at the same time supporting a very specific CleanHub project in a country where plastic pollution is one of the worst. Increasing population, rapid urbanization, changing consumption patterns and changing lifestyles have resulted in mismanagement of plastic waste and hence accumulation of solid household waste in India. (4)
Eco Warrior + Eco Jar = Ocean Care
Mr. Ravi is a fisherman working with collection partner Recity in Pondicherry, India. He began his journey as an eco-warrior when he realized he was collecting more plastic than fish in his fishing nets. mr Ravi, concerned not only about his own livelihood but also about marine life in a plastic-rich ocean, took matters into his own hands and started collecting plastic from the sea with his special boat. mr Ravi now has a team of 5 fishermen with a specialized fleet of boats collecting plastic from the seabed and river courses in Pondicherry/SE India.
Ocean Ecosystem Facts:
- Our ocean covers 70% of the planet and supports life as we know it
- Every other breath we take comes from the sea
- Our ocean feeds billions of people
- Our ocean is home to 80% of the world's biodiversity.
Each of us, too, is a living, breathing ecosystem not unlike the planet we call home. With mybacs products, you not only support your own ecosystem every day, but also an ecosystem on our planet. #missionmicrobiome