With 90% of fish stocks now depleted globally, and 50% of the world's coral reefs destroyed, there has never been a more pressing time to protect our oceans. More than one billion people rely on sea food as their main source of protein, yet we continue to use our oceans as garbage dumps. Marine biodiversity is in dangerous decline, and without strictly enforced policies to protect our oceans, the balance between depletion and restoration will tip irreversibly in the wrong direction. With the UN Ocean Conference starting on June 27th, this is the year we can save our oceans.
The international MAPS treaty, endorsed by the UN, declares the whole area north of the Arctic Ocean an international peace park. Organised by the non-profit Parvati foundation, it aims to keep the area free from exploitation, and all other harmful activities in this vulnerable ecosystem. The idea is to keep our oceans healthy, prevent further species loss, and help keep the balance of our planets weather.
The main cause of coral bleaching is rising ocean temperatures - even a 1°C rise can begin the coral starving process. In 2016, we saw the largest ever recorded coral bleaching event - between 29 and 50 percent of Australia's Great Barrier Reef was lost. Learn more about the importance of reefs for marine life, and the potential solutions here.
It is estimated that around 8 million metric tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans each year. It causes problems in the open water, and on our shores. Nearly 700 species are directly impacted by this man-made time bomb. It is notoriously difficult to breakdown, and once it does, microplastics wreak havok with marine ecosystems, and eventually the foodchain. Find organisations and initiatives to help here, as well as recommended books, reports and studies on the subject.
Access to water that is safe for human consumption maybe something people take for granted. Billions of people around the world lack access to it, and is responsible for thousands of deaths every week. Problems are worsened by pollution, desertification, and lack of infrastructure. We cover the issues and the solutions here.