Whether you live on the coast or hours from the closest beach, we all depend on the ocean. The ocean is critical to maintaining life on Earth, contributing to our livelihoods and our well-being. It regulates our climate and weather, it generates 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe, and it absorbs excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The ocean also plays a vital role in the global economy by providing food and a source of income for millions of people. More than one billion people worldwide rely on the ocean for their primary source of protein.
The ocean is just too important to ignore. Yet, the ocean is facing significant challenges, some stemming from a lack of awareness and some from a lack of will. Some of these challenges are well known – like unsustainable fishing practices and marine pollution - and some are new to us – like ocean acidification. The good news is that there are solutions – and we know where to find them.
In June, the Department of State will host the “Our Ocean” Conference. We will bring together individuals, experts, practitioners, advocates, lawmakers, and the international ocean and foreign policy communities to gather lessons learned, share the best science, offer unique perspectives, and demonstrate effective actions. We aim to chart a way forward, working individually and together, to protect “Our Ocean.”