Our Ocean: A Finite Resource
From SDG Academy on 31 July, 2019
The ocean has always sparked human curiosity. In the mid-20th century, people began to realize that there are limits to what humanity should do to our planet before it cannot support life as we know it, limits known as the planetary boundaries. The human population of the planet has reached 7 billion people and will soon approach 11 billion people. We rely on the earth to support us with ecosystem services; the ocean provides these services by regulating the climate system. The oceans have a large heat capacity that has kept the climate stable for the last 20,000 years and allowed civilization to grow. The ocean also provides provisioning services, which are the things that we take out of the ocean to support us, such as the oxygen we breathe, fifteen percent of the food that we eat, the rain that makes agriculture possible, raw materials, and renewable energy. Cultural services such as enjoyment and religious practices also come from the ocean. The ocean also is integral to the economy; it is estimated to be worth US$3 to US$6 trillion, 90 percent of global trade crosses the ocean, and 95 percent of global trade crosses the ocean, etc. Five elements are the main reasons for the declining ocean ability to provide for the ecosystem: the demand for resources, technology advances that provide access to the ocean, over-fishing, climate change, and weak high seas governance.