The ocean is a commons that humanity depends on for its survival. We need to reimagine the future governance of the ocean that draws on new literature and global activism.
We need to rethink our relationship with the ocean. The extent of humanity’s dependence on the ocean is becoming more and more evident, but strategies to sustainably manage its resources are constrained by opposing vested interests and contested ocean spaces.
Earth is a blue planet – 70% of its surface is covered by the ocean. The ocean provides 50% of the oxygen we breathe, houses between 50% and 80% of life on Earth, absorbs 25% of CO2 emissions and has to date taken up more than 90% of the warming caused by excessive unsustainable emissions. It also provides three billion people with nutrition, many of whom depend on seafood as a primary source of protein.
A Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that our climate system is irrevocably linked to the ocean. Yet, services that the ocean provides face massive challenges from warming due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss as a result of deoxygenation and acidification, overfishing and pollution. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report ranks biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top five threats humanity will face in the next 10 years. Read more…