The ocean is the largest source of life on our planet. Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, it provides food, water, employment, goods and services that are worth billions of dollars, relaxation, and even the air we breathe. Yet in return we have been abusing it, stripping it of fish, choking it with pollution and acidifying its waters. We now run the risk of destroying this most valuable natural capital asset – the very thing that makes Earth habitable.
The ocean impacts our lives on a daily basis, even for those of us living far away from its shores:
- The UN estimates that worldwide, fish provides about 3 billion people with almost 20% of their intake of animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with about 15% of such protein.
- Recent research has shown the ocean ecosystem would rate as the world’s 7th largest economy in terms of GDP for “goods and services” such as food, tourism, and shipping.
- The microscopic plants that live in the ocean are responsible for more than half the oxygen we breathe – every second breath that we take. As a natural carbon sink, the ocean absorbs approximately 25% of all the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities.
But we are spending down this natural capital at an alarming rate.
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