Oceans are essential to the habitability of the planet. They regulate the Earth’s climate and weather patterns, provide water that supports life, supply oxygen and food that sustain life at sea and on land, and perform a wide range of ecosystem functions. Oceans have absorbed some 90% of greenhouse gas-induced heat and 25% of human- induced carbon emissions to date.
The future of the ocean, mankind’s collective heritage and lifeblood of our planet, today however, presents significant existential risk to the survival of living beings, at a time when, paradoxically, we need it more than ever.
The fact is that ocean health is deteriorating at an unsuspected pace. Little studied by scientists, hardly or not at all taken into account by politics, neglected by a consumerist civilization unaware of its vulnerability, the world’s ocean is in distress.
The multitude of marine and coastal ecosystem services is deteriorating, coastlines are changing and water levels rising, hurricanes are intensifying as extreme climatic phenomena multiply, marine life is suffocating, toxic species proliferate and entire stretches of ocean no longer have the capacity to sustain life. Hence the urgency for robust, efficient and rapid solutions to this state of affairs, which is set to worsen irreversibly in the years to come.