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After all the ocean does for us, it's time to return the favor

Plastics, chemical runoff, overfishing, acidification, oxygen loss, and more are serious threats to our oceans, but our seas and waterways are inextricably tied to our health, economies, livelihoods, and terrestrial ecosystems.

Healthy oceans mean a healthy planet, and we must do everything we can to protect them.

Oceans are a major carbon sink. Our vast oceans absorb up to 30% of all carbon dioxide emissions, taking a massive chunk of it out of the atmosphere and helping to offset over a quarter of the emissions we create. Oceans generate 50% of our oxygen and capture excess heat, which helps regulate our climate on a global scale.

Oceans are home to millions of species of plant and animal life. 90 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises are just the start. Our seas are home to the familiar, like sharks, cod, and squid, as well as those that lurk on the ocean floor, like chambered nautiluses and common fangtooths. From living creatures that look like plants to rocks like sea anemones and corals, the biodiversity of our oceans is breathtaking.

Oceans feed us. Our seas provide a major source of food for billions of people around the planet. From coastal communities relying on small-scale fisheries to industrial fishing operations, seafood plays a crucial role in global food security. However, habitat destruction and pollution threaten the long-term viability of fish and seafood stocks.

Oceans are central to our economies. Oceans contribute to the livelihoods of almost half the people on the planet. Healthy waterways are a huge asset to their surrounding communities because they provide major economic benefits. We took much for granted until the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in Baltimore, halting the shipping and the delivery of goods. Some 80% of all tourism occurs in coastal areas. The ocean-related tourism industry is an economic engine worth an estimated $134 billion yearly. We must get serious about smart regulation that will keep our seas clean, healthy, and free of pollution.

Our oceans work hard for us, and it’s time we return the favor. Through conservation, sustainable best practices, and cooperation among the different stakeholders, our oceans will thrive and continue to serve as a source of inspiration and wonder. As we clean up our neighborhoods and waterways, we’ll see that the health of our oceans is inseparable from our own health, and we’ll start to rediscover our own picture-perfect coastlines that we try to capture on our beach vacations.

Steady on,


Posted on April 19, 2024.

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