Monday December 23, 2013 | 09:20 AM
Posted by Harold Johnson

If you have Google Earth, there's a fun little trick you can do.

Drag the globe over to the Pacific Ocean. Now drag down south a bit, a little bit more.

Eventually you wind up with this:

We call our planet Earth. But 71% of it is water.

We like to break things down, categorize them, name them. We've broken the world's ocean into various "oceans," with their own bays, gulfs, coves, inlets, straits, seas.

But the ocean is one. It's an interconnection that circulates around and encompasses the globe. The water lapping up on our Maine shores can -- and does -- travel the world, splashing against every continent in a 1000-year circular journey that eventually will bring it back to us.

What we do in our corner of the world spreads out to reach places and people far away. Likewise, what other peoples and cultures do for and to their respective corners of the world eventually make their way to us. One way or another.

We rely on the world's oceans for food, for the air we breathe (1/2 the world's oxygen comes from plankton), for regulating our temperatures, for storing our carbon, for the source of the rainwater that bathes our lands and turns our gardens green.

This season of giving, let's stop for a moment to think of how much we actually take. And how much we owe.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone on Planet Ocean.

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About the Author

Visiting a Maine beach in March 2010, Harold Johnson was shocked by the ocean-borne debris left by recent storms. He grabbed a garbage bag and a camera, and hasn’t looked back.

Since then he has spent most of his free time studying marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, and the mysteries and science of ocean and shore.

Copyeditor and writer by trade, historian and archaeologist at heart, Johnson’s philosophy is simple: Dig below the surface, travel the currents, make the connections, learn. Then share what you learn. He lives in Saco with his wife and young daughter. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

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