Did you know that Posidonia oceanica, the sea grass species found in Ibiza, is 100,000 years old? Did you know that this makes it the second oldest living organism on the planet? This has been documented by the artist and photographer Rachel Sussman in the project ‘The Oldest Living Things in the World’, presented at the University of Chicago, where she collects photographs of the 15 oldest living organisms on the planet that have been around for thousands of years.
The island has many great treasures that are unknown to the general public and, without a doubt, one of them is the Posidonia, a marine plant whose natural habitat is the Mediterranean and more specifically the Balearic Islands. It is an extraordinarily valuable natural asset, both historically and environmentally, which is directly responsible for the transparency, colour, richness and uniqueness of Ibiza’s waters and paradisiacal landscape that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.
However, few know that the stunning beauty of the sea, its intense turquoise blue colour and even the fine white sand of the beaches have been preserved over the centuries thanks to a hidden and ancient treasure: the Posidonia meadows – an asset of outstanding universal value that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Many are also unaware that these extensive underwater meadows are fragile and, despite their age, are extremely sensitive to human activity, particularly the disposal of fertilizers and waste water, plastics and other debris and, above all, to trawling and anchoring, which cause serious damage to the Posidonia meadows.
Yacht anchors are the great enemies of these ecosystems: when they are lifted, they pull up and destroy the plants, causing irreparable damage to these authentic underwater monuments. Lack of awareness or negligence when doing an environmentally friendly activity like sailing can result in a natural disaster. We should all contribute to protecting the Mediterranean‘s most important underwater forests, which are remarkably unique in both biological and historical terms, and which have also proved to be essential elements in the fight against climate change, as they are a natural lung that releases oxygen.
Sail in crystal clear waters, but never drop anchor when there is Posidonia on the seabed. Swim through posidonia meadows that constitute one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, but never uproot plants or scatter ashes here. Also respect debris when you see it on the beaches and walk on it, knowing that if it protects you from coastal erosion, dunes and sand, it can do you no harm.
Appreciate Posidonia, get involved in protecting it, keep the beaches and the seabed clean and take an active part in the awareness raising campaign aimed at protecting the Posidonia sea grass meadows, which are living organisms that start to bloom in winter and reach their peak in spring.