'Mission Blue' Warning: The Ocean Is Not Too Big to Fail
Sylvia A. Earle / 8.5.14 / http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/15/mission-blue-warning-the-ocean-is-not-too-big-to-fail.html
In a presentation at the World Bank headquarters in 2009, I began by showing the classic image of Earth from space and commented: "There it is-The World Bank. Throughout the history of humankind, we have been drawing down the assets, living on the capital without accounting properly for the losses."
We humans have this idea that the Earth-all of it: the oceans, the skies-are so vast and so resilient it doesn't matter what we do to it. This is especially true of the ocean, where impacts are less obvious than for terrestrial systems.
Current policies and mindsets around the globe were formed decades ago when it seemed the ocean was "too big to fail."
But failing it is with about half the coral reefs, kelp forests, mangroves, sea grass meadows, and coastal marshes globally gone or in serious decline, hundreds of coastal dead zones, and steep reductions in numerous commercially-exploited species of shark, swordfish, tuna, cod, salmon, and many others. At the same time, the role of the ocean in governing climate, weather, oxygen production, the carbon cycle, water cycles, and overall planetary chemistry has come into clear focus. Now we know: If the ocean is in trouble, so are we. It is time to take care of the ocean as if our lives depend on it, because they do.
As an ocean scientist and explorer with thousands of hours on, around and especially under the sea, I have personally witnessed a time...