SDG 14 Courses: Life Below Water

By volume, oceans represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet and cover around three quarters of the Earth’s surface. Oceans contain 97 per cent of all water on Earth and, presently, livelihoods of over three billion people depend on coastal biodiversity and marine, for which the market is estimated at $ 3 trillion per year. Furthermore, around 200.000 identified species live in oceans, however, it is believed that there are millions of other species that are yet to be discovered. Oceans absorb around 30 per cent of carbon dioxide that is produced by world’s population, which highly impacts the global warming. The largest sources of protein are found in oceans, while marine fisheries, directly or indirectly, employ over 200 million people. However, the open ocean sites currently show that levels of acidity have increased by 26 per cent since the start of the Industrial Revolution, while coastal waters are affected by eutrophication and pollution.

Temperature, chemistry and life of oceans is what drives global systems that make the Earth suitable for human life. Everything we survive from, such as drinking water, climate, weather, rainwater, majority of food, coastlines and oxygen, are provided and regulated by the sea. This relates not only to vital survival, but also to economic survival, since throughout history, seas and oceans have been more than vital for transportation and trade. Thus, the goal is to conserve and sustainably use the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources.

Oceans provides us with food, medicines, biofuels and other products. Their ecosystems reduce damage from storms and they help with removal of pollution and waste. They contribute to poverty reduction by providing fish catches and improving health. There are many benefits for humankind driven from oceans, and their sustainability is crucial for world’s survival. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity to sustain global oceans there is a need for $ 32 billion one-time public cost and $ 21 billion for recurring costs per year. Only through international cooperation it is possible to achieve sustainability for open ocean and deep sea areas. Governments should establish effective and comprehensive systems of protected areas to conserve biodiversity and secure a sustainable future for the fishing industry. On local levels, people should buy only ocean-friendly products and eat from oceans only what they need. This will lead to reduction of carbon footprint and rising sea levels. All people should eliminate usage of plastic as much as possible, and, most importantly, spread the message on the importance of marine life and the need to protect it.

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