24. The ocean floor
When you think of the ocean floor, what do you imagine? If you’re anything like us, we would’ve said flat and sandy, just like when you dip your toes in the sea. But in reality, the ocean floor is as diverse as the land, with numerous craters, valleys and mountain ranges.
It’s thought that we know more about the surface of the moon than what lies beneath. Yet these seascapes are critical to fisheries feeding billions, underwater cables supplying the internet to billions and even how our weather behaves.
Which is why scientists are spending so much time attempting to map the ocean floor. In doing so, rich treasures have been found – but not the chests full of pirate gold that we might think of. Instead, the ocean floor hides a copious supply of rare minerals, precious metals, oil and even diamonds.
But should we start mining the ocean floor? Could it uncover problems that we don’t even know about yet? What about the ecological damage human life has caused to the earth? Could we do the same to the ocean floor? Who even owns the ocean floor anyway?
For these reasons, should we leave it alone? Or should we risk it for the plentiful and valuable resources?