There has been no comprehensive statement from our government on oceans. Now for the first time, we have a common vision to govern the 4.4 million square miles of America’s marine waters: President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force has issued science-based recommendations for a national policy to govern, protect, maintain and restore ocean habitat.
Why should you care? Oceans are important to all of us–not just fishermen and boaters, but snorkelers, sunbathers, divers… even those who may not see the coast on a regular basis. They drive life on our planet. Unless we take responsibility for keeping oceans sound, we’re all in trouble. As the Marine Conservation Biology Institute explains:
If adopted, implemented and funded, the recommendations would usher in a new era of ocean management — one based on environmental stewardship. Just imagine the impact we could have if, rather than the hodgepodge of agencies and laws that currently govern oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes, we work together to restore the health of these critical ecosystems!
Go visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/ and tell the White House Council on Environmental Quality that you support a comprehensive national policy to protect, maintain and restore our oceans and coasts. The 30 day comment period ends on the 17th.
For inspiration, once again, here’s My Top Ten List of reasons why oceans are vital:
- Ocean critters generate a good deal of the oxygen we breathe.
- We’re talking 99% of the habitat, 97% of the water, and 71% of surface on the planet!
- Oceans drive climate and weather through transfer of water and heat.
- Most U.S. commerce travels through the nation’s ports.
- Oceans account for a $20 billion recreational fishing industry… not to mention, a $60 billion annual seafood industry.
- And we’re talking $8 trillion estimated in oil and gas reserves.
- They support nearly 50 percent of all species on Earth.
- Over 50% of our nation’s population lives in coastal counties.
- Oceans mitigate the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere at their own expense… (okay, and ultimately ours).
- Marine animals and plants produce a ton of compounds that prevent and treat human disease. Like sea cucumbers…
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