The original concept of "ocean" goes back to notions of Mesopotamian and Indo-European mythology, imagining the world to be encircled by a great river. Okeanos , "Ωκεανός" in Greek, reflects the ancient Greek observation that a strong current flowed off Gibraltar and their subsequent assumption that it was a great river. (Compare also Samudra from Hindu mythology and Jörmungandr from Norse mythology).
The world was imagined to be enclosed by a celestial ocean above the heavens, and an ocean of the underworld below (compare Rasā, Varuna).
The ocean covers 71 percent of the surface of our world and plays a vital role in maintaining biodiversity, regulating climate and weather patterns, and providing food and jobs for millions of people worldwide.
As a result of destructive human activity the health of our oceans and the life they support is in jeopardy.
Seabirds, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and marine mammals are entangled and drowned by irresponsible fishing practices every year.
Covering less than 0.2% of the ocean floor, coral reefs contain perhaps 1/4 of all marine species.
Coral reefs in 93 of the 109 countries containing them have been damaged or destroyed by human activities.
In addition, human impacts may have directly or indirectly caused the death of 5-10% of the world's living reefs, and if the pace of destruction is maintained, another 60% could be lost in the next 20-40 years.
By 2050, the sea level will rise approximately 1.5 meters, flooding low lying areas.
With as much as 50 percent of the world's population settled in coastal communities, it is estimated that by this time 150 million people will be driven from their homes and become environmental refugees.