The sea turtle has existed on our planet for 110 million years, but with the influence of modern humans, nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites.
Marine pollution has a serious impact on both sea turtles and the food they eat.When pollution enters the water, it contaminates and kills aquatic plant and animal life that is often food for sea turtles. Oil spills, urban runoff from chemicals, fertilizers and petroleum all contribute to water pollution. Because the ocean is so large, many incorrectly assume that pollutants will be diluted and dispersed to safe levels, but in reality, the toxins released from these pollutants become more concentrated as they break down in size. As a result, these smaller, more toxic particles become food for many links in the food chain, including sea turtles.
I decided to illustrate the sea turtle as a representative of the conservation of our water. Although sea turtles seem to point only to the urgency of the health of our oceans, what we do in our backyards, how we dispose of our waste, the chemicals that we use, the energy that we use all affect the water that we depend upon. Seventy-five percent of our planet is water and 95% of it is in our oceans. The sea turtle is a health indicator of our water. If the turtles disappear, will we be next? — Lyla Paakkanen