Oceans as an Investment Priority
As a key variable in the fight against climate change, the world's oceans cannot be a mere afterthought on the global economic and environmental agenda. We should invest in protecting the oceans as if our future depended on it, because it does.
OSLO – The Earth’s oceans face many threats, none of which have quick fixes. Still, the solutions are known, and with a sufficiently broad coalition of partners, we can get the ball rolling on a number of fronts.
A wide range of human activities – from burning fossil fuels to over-fishing – have been degrading the oceans for years. By increasing the absorption of carbon dioxide, global warming is acidifying the oceans and reducing oxygen levels, harming or killing marine plants, animals, and other organisms. And as the ice caps melt, rising sea levels are increasingly putting hundreds of millions of people in coastal areas at risk.
Moreover, owing to a lack of modern treatment plants in many cities, especially in Africa and Asia, sewage is being dumped into rivers and canals, where it eventually runs off into the oceans, introducing large amounts of plastic particles and toxins. The tons of trash dumped daily into streets, backyards, rivers, beaches, and coastal areas also end up in the oceans. Many of these products, such as grocery bags and bottled-water containers, contain hazardous chemicals that are eaten by fish and then consumed by people, leading to a wide range of health issues.
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