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In fighting climate change and supporting economic growth, the blue economy is perhaps the most important. But what exactly is it?
As climate change affects the entire world, coastal areas are among the most vulnerable to climate change and the impact of sea level rise and temperature. About 40 percent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastline. But the whole world depends on our oceans to be healthy and sustainable.
What is the Blue Economy?
According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the sustainable use of marine resources to boost the economy, as well as improve quality of life and preserve the health of the environment.
The European Commission stated that the blue economy is defined as “all economic activities related to the oceans, seas, and coasts. It involves various interconnected sectors that are established and emerging.” for marine ecosystems and ecosystems, and support marine economies to support growth in developed and developing countries.
Keith Lawrence, an economist at the Conservation International Center for Oceans said: “When we say the oceans are healthy, we are talking about managing the oceans in a way that keeps them healthy and continues to benefit people.
“We used to think of the ocean as a vast, unknown, infinite resource that we couldn’t use well, and that we didn’t need to manage it because it’s so big and it’s on its own.”
All this is changing when countries start looking at ways to protect the oceans and support the communities that depend on them, meaning all communities, even those that are not close to the ocean. This is mainly because of the role that the ocean plays in transportation, storage of carbon dioxide, and food.
Why do we need a Blue Economy?
The degradation of our oceans has become more apparent in recent years as plastic waste can be found all over the world. The largest – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – is twice the size of Texas, according to recent measurements.
Plastic pollution threatens marine life and ecosystems. It also disrupts the food system and the ocean’s ability to absorb oxygen. The oceans currently absorb about seven to eight gigatons of Co2 per year—about as much as the world’s forests. But the high acidity of the ocean makes it less efficient at removing oxygen.
Overfishing only exacerbates the problem. For many years, fish have been pulled from the sea. Commercial fishing has put that number now in the billions every year. By comparison, about 55 billion animals are raised on land for food – that’s almost eight times the world’s population. Good fisheries estimates show that two to three trillion fish are pulled from the ocean each year. Despite being criticized for several flaws, the 2021 film The speed of the sea outlining the range of problems facing the fishing industry, including the impact on the oceans and human rights violations, among others.
Areas that rely heavily on fisheries are finding it difficult to find fish, and nutrient imbalances have opened up waterways to invasive species. This creates serious environmental challenges and creates new challenges for local food.
There’s also a trade-off in pricing and sentiment, says Lawrence.
“When we make a decision to allow deep mining to take place in an area, and we make another decision to protect the area, say its beautiful coral reefs, we make decisions that one thing is more important than the other,” says Lawrence. “And finance gives you a way to know that and make informed decisions.”
Cost also goes to things we don’t see like phytoplankton produce carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide. Some estimates put the value of carbon sequestered under the ocean at about $30 trillion. A single whale’s role in carbon sequestration can make it worth millions of dollars over its lifetime. “We need to acknowledge that whales are a global resource,” Ralph Chami, assistant director of the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development, told National Geographic in 2019.
Chami and his colleagues estimate that the whale’s carbon sequestration value is about $2 million per whale. This brings their net worth to over $1 trillion.
But for many people, especially cultures that still have a spiritual connection with animals, the life of a whale is more than a price tag.
The oceans, as naturalist John Muir said, are intimately connected. “If we try to choose everything by itself, we find that it contains everything in the Universe,” he famously said.
“Environmental services are important – whether we put a price on them or not,” said Mahbubul Alam, an economist at Conservation International.
“However, monetizing environmental services is a powerful way to link its activities, for example, the contribution of whale watching to the local economy. This does not mean that ‘$X’ is the value of the whale itself, but that the whales contribute to the economy of ‘$X’, thus providing an economic reason to protect the whales.”
Promoting the Blue Economy
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its Blue Economy Strategic Plan outlining how the US can improve its blue economy and contribute to global progress.
According to NOAA, the coastal economy supports 2.3 million jobs and adds more than $370 billion to GDP through a variety of activities including tourism and recreation, shipping and logistics, power generation, food, and other goods and services.
But this is the US The World Bank’s Global Ocean Economic Portfolio exceeded $9 billion, and includes projects related to sustainable fisheries and marine life, management of coastal and marine resources, the circular economy and management of solid marine plastic waste. water, sustainable coastal tourism, marine tourism, etc.
“Oceans are one of the biggest economic frontiers right now,” says Lawrence. “Almost all world trade is carried out by ships. You have offshore oil and gas, as well as deep-sea mining. As we develop technologies, we are able to go to – and exploit – places that we have not been able to go before. There is great potential for the ocean to provide major means of feeding the world and providing energy and good services.
“But if we do it recklessly, we can destroy the biggest life support system on the planet – the system that supports people, animals, nature.”