We Need the Oceans for Our Survival

Dr. Greg Stone, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist for Oceans at Conservation International addressed the Walden Forum on Thursday, September 13. The world’s oceans are truly a remarkable resource that we all depend upon for our wellbeing, however, they are in a state of serious decline. As the world’s population has steadily climbed over the last 50 years, reaching 7 billion in 2011, this has put a heavy burden on the earth’s “natural capital,” not least the oceans. Only 4% are now considered pristine, and over 40% are heavily impacted by humans.

The oceans provide many benefits to us all including the provision of food (for 1 in 4 people, fish are a main source of protein); the production of oxygen and freshwater; and as a source of livelihoods for millions of people worldwide. However, there has been a significant decline; over 87% of monitored marine stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited, or even depleted; the oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, marine habitats such as mangroves and coral reefs have been devastated; and liquid and solid pollutants are entering the marine environment at rates never previously seen.   However, all is not lost, we do still have a chance, and the timing has to be now. We need to turn-the-tide and work to reverse the effects of these impacts. There are solutions that can make a difference and they involve us all working together. In addition, we need a way of determining if we are being successful; a tool to measure the health of the oceans. During this talk, you will learn about the wonders of the oceans, the benefits they provide, the problems they face and how we can work to reverse their decline. We need the oceans now more than ever for all human-kind.