The World’s ocean, which covers half Earth’s surface, is one of humanity’s greatest resources providing billions of humans around the world with food, transport, production of oxygen and at the same time absorbs carbon dioxide emissions. The survival of all life on Earth depends on a healthy ocean and today it’s unfortunately in dramatic decline. Habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, over-fishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification are pushing the ocean system to the point of collapse.
The good news is that the The Global Ocean Commission have proposed a new rescue package entitled, “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package For the Global Ocean.”
According to their website, “The Global Ocean Commission originated as an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with Somerville College at the University of Oxford, Adessium Foundation and Oceans 5. It is supported by Pew, Adessium Foundation, Oceans 5 and The Swire Group Charitable Trust, but is independent of all. It is hosted by Somerville College.”
The commission has taken serious consideration of the latest science and analysis from ocean experts in addition to stakeholder engagement. Members of the public were also invited to participate in a global survey comprising over 13,000 online questionnaires. The results revealed strong support for more effective ocean protection.
There are a total of 8 proposals that tackle various challenges. As stated in the summary report, “We can continue to lay cables and ship containers across a dead ocean, but without paying attention to sustaining the life within it, we put our own lives and those of every living thing in peril.”
Some key drivers of ocean decline identified by the commission include:
- Rising demand for resources
- Climate change, biodiversity, habitat loss
- Technological advances
- Weak high seas governance
- Decline of fish stocks
In June of 2014 the EPA and Obama Administration took new measures to protect the deep Pacific ocean. You can read more about that here. Protecting our ocean cannot be done in silos. We are starting to see a great “all hands on deck” movement take place.
“We all have a clear responsibility to act, as the current stewards of this planet. We have an obligation to leave future generations a healthy and productive ocean, able to continue to give life and value to all humanity.”
You can learn more about all the proposed solutions here