Imagine losing coastlines, entire islands, and substantial parts of Asia, northern Europe and the Arctic from erosion, floods, and glacial melting. Imagine the consequences of a year with record heat temperatures.
Can you envision a world constantly hit with hurricanes and tsunamis, afflicted with drowning seals and disappearing polar bears, and impoverished by lost marine environments and arctic livelihoods? Can you further envision the disappearance of coral reefs, and depletion of as much as 1/3 of the species in the oceans due to ocean acidification and climate change?
Now, imagine a world where you could make a difference. Imagine that you could help the world better undersand the oceans, reduce ocean pollution, restore ecosystems, repair damaged marine environments and replenish the oceans' resources.
Can you imagine rebuilding the world's oceans and seas, valuable resources upon which so much of our existence depends? Can you imagine taking on challenges such as climate change impacts, ocean acidification, and bleaching of coral reefs?
As one of our most precious assets, the ocean is indispensable to life itself. It is the largest habitat for living things in our solar system and sustains our lives with over 50 percent of the earth's oxygen. "Without our oceans, we wouldn't be able to breathe; we wouldn't be able to eat; we wouldn't be able to live.'"
The Ocean and coastal resources supply us with:
A vital source of food - The ocean is the primary source of protein for over 2.6 billion people worldwide;
A source of employment and livelihood - Economic activity resulting from the ocean indirectly and directly support 200 - 400 million people each year;
Energy that powers the planet - The oceans hold existing and potential oil and gas reserves for future energy use;
A place for leisure and sports - More than 200 million people visit coastal cities and countries each year;
A place to live - Over half of the world's population live within 200 km of a coastline.
Increasing economic activity and climate change, however, have put our marine environments, and our own existence in great peril. Marine ecosystems are at risk of being lost forever; fisheries are facing declining catches; and island states are threatened by rising sea levels. The specter of global terrorism and nuclear activity in the oceans also pose a great danger to our lives.
Waves of change offers an opportunity to address all of these issues and more. View an introduction to Waves of Change below.
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An Ocean Champion in the White HouseLast Updated on 2013-05-17 at 18:36This article was originally published by the Center for American Progress.
It should come as no surprise that a president who grew up in Hawaii and has been known to enjoy the... More »