Can we bring the oceans back to life?

Shutterstock.com/ Romolo Tavani

The oceans are incredibly important to the future of our planet. If we can help the oceans survive and thrive then our planet will be able to sustain human life for much longer. In the news, we often hear of the growing problems of pollution in the sea with huge islands of rubbish floating through our oceans as well as the deaths of an entire ocean species. This can lead us to think that the ocean is beyond repair. A new study suggests that all hope is not lost. 

The study was conducted by the leading marine biologists in the world across ten countries and 16 universities. The study has taken any successful intervention methods currently in existence and laid out a plan of how we can return the oceans to their former glory. 

While we often see terrible news regarding the ocean in the media there have been plenty of positive news stories as well. The humpback whale was on the edge of extinction due to excessive hunting but due to new conservation efforts, there has been a huge growth in the population. The studies overall have shown that human activity has been horrendous for marine life but that when we stop causing disastrous things to happen, ocean life has the ability to bounce back strongly.

If we can take the lessons learned in these small examples around the world and scale them up quickly we could see the oceans return to their former glory by 2050. One of the biggest factors of the study though is climate change. Climate change is a huge issue that to date we have struggled to slow down. Mitigating climate change is central to the proposed plan working. This is why it will require a global agreement to make it possible.

The research outlined nine key areas that will help bring ocean life back to its pristine state. Saltmarshes, mangroves, seagrass, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, megafauna, and the deep-sea were the most important areas identified. Within each of these areas, there were then clear outlines of what is required to protect different species and reduce pollution. The plan, therefore, provides a clear solution that all countries should pursue in their own ocean habitats. 

The plan is not an easy one. It will require considerable financial resources and the ongoing commitment of all the large countries in the world. However, the reason this report is such a landmark development is that it shows the oceans can be saved. While many environmental studies point out the problems and the disaster that is looming this study actually shows how to solve it. The ocean is resilient and will recover if we give it the opportunity to do so. 

We can no longer talk about the need to do something, it is time to do it. The oceans and the wider environment are at a critical point where we must decide to do something now and allow them to recover or watch further degradation of our environment and continued decline. 

The study has provided evidence-based solutions to bring our planet back to a healthy existence. At a time when many are trying to suggest it is already too late and that the environment is doomed, the opposite is clearly true. We have an opportunity to allow our oceans to recover fully and in the space of one generation. This is not a lofty goal without clear steps. This is not a goal that will take hundreds of years to reach fruition. This is a plan that we can bring into existence now and see the benefits within thirty years.