Op-Ed: To save the Earth, think like a ‘blue water’ sailor
A group of ocean scientists have issued a plea to the world’s maritime nations to become the eyes and ears of the planet’s natural resources
The seafaring nations need to become global leaders in marine research, environmental awareness and renewable energy
With the world’s oceans and seas covered in more than seven million square miles of shallow water, many things are out of sight that are in plain view. To save the Earth, we need to think about how we can best protect and steward our oceans, lakes and rivers.
Today’s oceans and the seaways they touch are not like those in the past. Today’s oceans are the first ocean to be fully developed over the last 10,000 years — meaning they are the result of human intervention. They also have the full capacity to absorb all the nutrients and pollutants that may come floating into their waters.
While the ocean is in a constant state of change, new technologies and data are helping us to better manage it.
As part of the Blue Water Initiative, more than 60 of the world’s leading ocean scientists, researchers, and government and nonprofit experts have come together around the world to explore ways in which to further protect our coastal oceans and waters.
“The oceans have long been perceived as nature’s way of recycling and replenishing the planet’s resources, but we are seeing now how rapid human development of the ocean has accelerated this natural process,” says Professor Susan Poling, director of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). “The ocean is being overwhelmed by human activities, and as a result, our seaways and beaches are becoming the dumping grounds for our trash. It’s time to change that.”
The Blue Water Initiative was launched in 2010 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the UN Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pew Environment Group, the Institute of International Education, the Global Oceans Forum and the World Economic Forum.
The Blue Water Initiative has helped turn the tide against the trash, plastic and pollution that the oceans have become. With the support of the Blue Water Partnership, a global alliance of leading marine and freshwater scientists, the initiative works to educate global leaders, decision-makers and advocates about the importance of protecting our waterways and oceans.
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