"Happy World Oceans Day!" - But what does this mean?
Just like national parks help protect animals and habitats on land, marine protected areas help safeguard areas of the ocean and marine animals.
Only 7% of our ocean is currently protected, yet scientists say we need to safeguard at least 30% to prevent any further extinction of species, stay below 1.5°C, and safeguard all people on this earth by protecting intact ecosystems and increasing biodiversity by 'rewilding' where possible.
Why focus on the ocean?
The ocean covers over 70% of the planet, produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen and is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, constituting over 90% of the habitable space on the planet. It is our life source, the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world.
BUT: Today, 60% of the world’s major marine ecosystems that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or are being used unsustainably. 90% of big fish populations are depleted and 50% of coral reefs destroyed creating close to 500 dead zones covering more than 245,000 km² globally, the equivalent to the surface of the United Kingdom.
Coastal systems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows have the ability to absorb, or sequester, carbon at rates up to 50 times those of the same area of tropical forest, so healthy oceans and biodiversity under water are key in trying to re-establish climate balance and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (Data sources: http://www.unesco.org/ and https://www.un.org/)
It's time to act - We are joining the call to action to have governments at the Convention on Biodiversity COP15 Summit in 2021 agree to protect 30% of our land and ocean by 2030.
Find out more in the below infographic and if you want to know the details, please zoom in.
There's of course no one quite like Sir David Attenborough to highlight the need to raise awareness and action through beautiful and powerful visuals (presented to 90 Heads of State at the opening of the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017 but still as relevant today):
Even when at home, you can still celebrate the ocean and help protect 71% of this planet. Start getting ready for #WorldOceanDay.