We've known for years that our oceans are in trouble, struggling under the strain of oil drilling, pollution and overfishing. More recently, scientists have learned that rising amounts of carbon dioxide from burning fuels reacts with seawater to form an acid that dissolves sea shells. This process, called ocean acidification, makes it more difficult for any shelled creature in the ocean to survive and threatens the stability of marine food webs worldwide.
Healthy marine and Great Lakes systems regulate our climate and provide us with food, jobs and recreational opportunities. Protecting and restoring them to health now is made all the more urgent because of global warming: the healthier these systems are, the better able they will be to withstand the additional stress imposed by ocean acidification and other harmful effects from global warming pollution.
Part of the challenge in addressing the various problems facing our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes is that they are currently governed by more than 140 laws and 20 different agencies, each with different goals and often conflicting mandates. Like the Clean Air Act for our air, and the Clean Water Act for our water, we need a national policy for our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.
Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced that it would develop a unifying national policy and framework to effectively manage the increasing amount of industrial pressure on our seas, coasts and Great Lakes, and is now collecting public comment on what that policy should look like. Protecting, maintaining and restoring the health of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes must be the core focus of a national policy, which should be formalized in an executive order from the president.
What to do:
Send a message
urging President Obama to issue an executive order formally establishing a national policy to protect, maintain and restore the health of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.