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To support life on Earth​, we must keep oceans safe

1/2 of breathable oxygen

Vital resource

On our planet, water and life are synonymous, and Earth’s oceans have shaped life as we know it. The oceans also make our air: Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton provide the majority of the breathable oxygen generated by the ocean, which accounts for more than half of the air we inhale.

80% of Earth’s added heat

Climate stability

As the atmosphere gets hotter from human activity, so does the ocean. The ocean has absorbed more than three-quarters of the heat added to the planet as a result of climate change — and its limit is approaching. Warmer oceans raise sea level, disrupt weather, melt polar ice, and endanger coastal ecosystems. Slow-growing species like coral are under threat and critical habitats are being lost, with many animals’ migratory patterns being altered by changes in the seasonal currents they follow.

3 billion reliant people

Human cost

Polluting our ocean takes a toll. Three in seven people depend on fish for their protein, and 350 million jobs worldwide depend on the marine sector. The global fisheries industry grew 167 percent between 1980 and 2008. In the Pacific Oceanscape — a coalition of island nations and territories whose waters span four times the area of the United States — the tuna industry alone provides more than 13,000 jobs to Pacific Islanders and contributes US$ 260 million to the region’s economy.

Heading toward a safer horizon — before our oceans reach their limit

Conservation International finds innovative ways to protect marine ecosystems — and the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them. We stand shoulder to shoulder with coastal communities around the world to conserve critical marine habitats; make fisheries more sustainable; and strengthen nature’s barriers against climate change.

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