Our ocean is in serious trouble. Heating, pollution, acidification, and oxygen loss pose serious threats to the health of the ocean and to all living beings who call this vast planetary resource their home. Why should you care? Here are 5 reasons:
- The ocean regulates our climate and provides the air we breathe
Our ocean mitigates non-renewable industry pollution by absorbing 25 per cent of all carbon emission, while generating 50 per cent of the oxygen we need to survive. It not only functions as the lungs of the planet, providing us with the air we breathe, but also as the world’s largest carbon sink helping to combat the negative impacts of climate change. Additionally, the ocean has taken up more than 90 per cent of the excess heat in the climate system helping to regulate temperatures on land. Thus, climate action depends on a healthy ocean, and a healthy ocean requires urgent climate action.
- The ocean feeds us
The ocean and its biodiversity provide our global community with 15 per cent of the animal protein we eat. In least developed countries, seafood is the primary source of protein to over 50 per cent of the population. It is therefore critical to protect the ocean’s biodiversity and practice sustainable fishing strategies for continued consumption. Currently, more than 10 million tons of fish go to waste every year because of destructive fishing practices. This is enough to fill 4,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Without significant change, UNESCO predicts more than 50 per cent of the world’s marine species may face extinction by 2100.
- It provides jobs and livelihoods
The ocean provides livelihoods to 3 billion people, nearly 50 per cent of the entire global population. Marine fisheries provide 57 million jobs globally. The blue economy is a strong industry that allows many to make their living and provide for their families. However, over 60 per cent of the world’s major marine ecosystems that underpin these livelihoods are being used unsustainably, with a significant portion being completely degraded. Additionally, according to UNEP, pollution from the 11 million tons of plastic that enters the ocean annually, costs an estimated US $13 billion, including clean-up costs and financial losses from fisheries and additional ocean-based industries. It is critical that we stop polluting our ocean.
- The ocean is a tool for economic development
The ocean is a significant economic tool. Ocean economies are among the most rapidly growing in the world. The market value of marine and coastal resources and the developing industry is estimated by UNDP to be US $3 trillion per year, which is about 5 per cent of total global gross domestic product. Thus, developing countries’ access to the ocean and shorelines allow them to develop and attract foreign direct investments and direct industry production within the state. Additionally, 80 per cent of tourism happens in coastal areas. The ocean-related tourism industry grows an estimated US $134 billion every year. However, for states to utilize their ocean resources, we must work together as a global community to protect the ocean. It is estimated that the loss of tourism due to coral bleaching alone is as much as $12 billion annually. With ocean levels rising as the temperature of our planet increases, coastline-specific tourism and energy industries are at risk along with the 680 million people who live in low-lying coastal areas, a number that is expected to rise to one billion by 2050.
- We need a healthy ocean to survive
The ocean affects us all in positive ways, no matter if you live on the coastline or in the desert. It provides climate regulation, food, jobs, livelihoods, and economic progress. Thus, we must work together to protect and save the ocean for the sake of our future survival on this planet. To learn more about the state of our ocean and what you can to today to help, visit the 2022 UN Ocean Conference website. Make your voluntary commitments here to save our ocean and follow the Conference taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 27 June to 1 July 2022, live via UN Web TV.