Protecting our life-support system

As a follow-up to my earlier observations on the decline of the world's oceans I highly recommend this wonderful talk by Sylvia Earle -- full of lush videography testifying to the power, beauty and diversity of our oceans -- as she receives the 2009 TED prize, and calls on us to

ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.

Sylvia Earle points out that only a fraction of 1% of the oceans are protected from degradation, that 90% of the biomass of large fish has been removed in the last century, that half of the coral reefs are threatened, that we are still killing a truly endangered species, the blue-fin tuna, and that carbon dioxide is acidifying the ocean and threatening the long-term survival of many fundamental species. The world's oceans soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, produce most of our oxygen, and provide abundant food. Sylvia Earle calls the oceans our "life-support system", and it doesn't take much imagination to see why. Dr. Earle wraps up her talk by emphasizing what is still in our oceans and very much worth saving. She calls for the creation of marine reserves to nourish, protect, and enhance the biodiversity, resilience and richness of the oceans. There is still hope. There is still time; but, there is precious little of it:

For the children of today, for tomorrow's child, as never again, now is the time.