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A World Without the Oceans

Kiara Vallier   |   November 18, 2015

Today officials from the United States and Cuba are set to sign an agreement that brings the two countries together for the protection of vital marine ecosystems from increased threats such as over-fishing, climate change and pollution. Back in early October, during the Our Ocean 2015 conference in Chile, the two countries announced the agreement that would lead to their collaborating on science, outreach and education regarding "sister" marine protected areas. Learn more about the collaboration here.

Just earlier this week as I was researching marine conservation efforts and looking into the marine protected areas of the world, I was astounded to learn that in 2013 less than 3% of the world's oceans were protected. While this number is definitely an improvement from the below 1% that it was almost a decade ago, it still seems crazy that despite being one of the major vital forces on Earth, and home to millions of species, the oceans are vastly unprotected from the serious threats they are facing.

Sylvia Earle, diver and world-renowned marine conservationist stated during her Ted Talk, My Wish: Protect the Oceans, that "To cope with climate change, we need new ways to generate power.We need new ways, better ways, to cope with poverty, wars and disease. We need many things to keep and maintain the world as a better place. But, nothing else will matter if we fail to protect the ocean. Our fate and the ocean's are one. We need to do for the ocean what Al Gore did for the skies above."

This quote really stuck with me. Having studied global challenges such as climate change, conflict and poverty, it was easy to become overwhelmed and not know where to concentrate my efforts but Sylvia is right, without the oceans there is no life on Earth to face other challenges.

Throughout her speech she also explained that there is still hope- though not for long. There are still coral reefs that are living healthy and strong and there are still populations of fish that have not been wiped out. There is still time to change our ways as a global society and protect these efforts. Though there is hope, there is no time to waste because the longer we hold off ocean conservation the more coral reefs are dying and fish populations are disappearing.

That is why I was so pleased to see the collaboration between the USA and Cuba in regards to improving conservation efforts. I only hope that as more people explore the oceans, whether it be by watching documentaries, dive missions or exploring with and ROV (hmmm... now where to find an easy to use ROV), the more ocean conservation will become a priority to the global population.

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