Mankind and shores – Area 7 : Sea and mankind

A new species has gradually settled in the Sea in order to take advantage of its treasures: Man. Today, 7 billion human beings make use of the World Ocean, and nearly half of them live within about a hundred kilometres of a coastline.

AN ATTACK ON THE SEAS!

Polders, floating islands, ports, marinas and aquaculture farms: tightly packed together on the coasts, we are expanding our living space by reclaiming land from the sea and reshaping coastlines.

Out at sea, tens of thousands of merchant ships, ferries and military ships, plus fleets of fishing and pleasure boats, sail across all of the oceans, creating traffic jams in places… Some 600 boats cross the Strait of Dover, for instance – the World’s busiest strait – every day!

A MINE OF TREASURES: THE OCEAN

Our needs keep on growing, and the Sea harbours a thousand treasures. Its water, like a gigantic “salt mill”, contains all of the chemical elements that make up the Earth (even gold and uranium). Oil and gas reserves can be found beneath it, and metals and precious stones are mixed in with its sediments. Our technology enables us to extract these treasures and many projects are seeking to tap into the colossal energies of the oceans and extract new raw materials from the depths.

THE MARINE LARDER AND PHARMACY

For centuries, we have taken food from the Sea. But now, biologists are looking for marine medicines that could treat our illnesses or soothe our pain. Some of these substances are also used to make food (gelling agents) or beauty products, or are used in surgery (for bone or skin grafts). Our observation of the creatures that live in the seas is also moving our technology forwards, with underwater vehicles and sonar…

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