We need our ocean, but it is under tremendous pressure. Reading through 2021 National Ocean Month proclamation, it’s hard to ignore how much we rely on our ocean: “The world’s ocean basins are essential to the success of our nation and, indeed, to life on Earth.” The ocean fuels our economy, provides food for billions of people, provides 50 percent of the world’s oxygen, provides us with opportunities for recreation, and regulates weather conditions and our global climate system.
If we want our ocean to stay providing for us, we have to step up now. For decades, the ocean has absorbed much of the heat caused by global warming, making it hotterandmore acidicthan ever before. This is lead marine life in search of colder waters , helping fuelharmful algae blooms , and destruction of important habitats such as kelp forests.
World Oceans Day 2021 focused on a solution of hope: the protection of at at least 30 percent of our ocean areas by 2030. With its counterpart of protecting at least 30 percent of land and inland waters, this effort is known as “30×30”. Scientists call for 30×30 to help provide a healthier climate; help protect the quality of our air and water; protect our food supply, health, fish and other wildlife; and prevent mass extinctions of wildlife.
We do not have time to lose. The urgency to act now has been reinforced by a new intergovernmental report last week, it was clear that we must fight together against the climate and biodiversity crises if we are to resolve them effectively; it is essential to prioritize the protection and restoration of nature.
In the United States, President Biden made a ambitious commitmentadopt 30×30 – to ensure meaningful and sustainable conservation of 30 percent of our lands, inland waters and oceans by 2030. In the ocean, this work must consider the role of fully or highly protected marine protected areas (MPAs) because they are the most effective tool we have for preserving ocean ecosystems.
MPAs, the oceanic equivalent of a Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, provide safe havens where ocean life can recover and thrive without the added pressures of extractive practices such as commercial fishing and fishing. oil gas drilling. They are a down payment for our future.Fully and highly protected marine areasare what are needed to help ecosystems resist and rebound from anthropogenic disturbances and adapt to climate change, simultaneously for the benefit of communitiesby supporting tourism and recreation and the jobs they generate.
And strong marine protected areas aren’t just needed in the US Earlier this month, the US, UK, Chile, Costa Rica and France. announced a new global partnership to advance the role of marine protected areas. As Jane Lubchenco, deputy director for climate and environment at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, said, “Marine protected areas, but especially highly protected ones, are an effective nature-based solution. to adapt and mitigate climate change and conserve biodiversity. . Nations must act now to protect key ocean habitats and the services the ocean provides to nature and humans. “
No matter where we live on this planet, we need a healthy ocean to survive. MPAs are essential to restore our ocean, protect our climate and our biodiversity; in short, to secure our future.
I encourage you to sign the Petition for World Oceans Day in support of 30×30, and join us by signaling your support for 30×30 to the administration in the action below.