Earth Day 2020: What Would It Take For The Oceans To Be Recovered Within The Next 30 Years?


The sun and the moon run their courses according to a fixed reckoning.
And the stemless plants and the trees humbly submit to His will.
And the heaven He has raised high and set up a measure,
That you may not transgress the measure.
So weigh all things in justice and fall not short of the measure. (Al Quran 55:6-10)

Source: Forbes

By Priya Shukla, who writes about the ocean, climate change, and the future of our planet.

Scientists believe that the world’s oceans could be recovered to healthy levels by 2050, but it would require a substantial shift in the way that we approach business and conservation associated with the oceans.

There are several historical examples of recovery that we can draw upon. For example, fish stocks increased during both World Wars due to decreased fishing pressure. Additionally, the Marshall Islands coral reefs were used for nuclear testing up until 1958. Since then, approximately 70 percent of the species found in the Bikini Atoll have been spotted. However, this exceptionally high and rapid resettlement is likely because the radiation left behind by the 76 megatons of nuclear weapons kept humans at bay.

Despite these optimistic examples, many may be skeptical about the short-term goal that this study proposes. Already in 2020, the Great Barrier Reef has experienced record-breaking levels of coral bleaching, microplastics were discovered in Antarctic sea ice and deep sea sediment, and there is new evidence that warming seawater is causing marine species to migrate poleward in search of cooler waters. And, the oceans have been facing numerous pressures from humans over the past 150 years including whaling / overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Nevertheless, this study suggests that there is a path to restoration for our oceans.

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