Conservation of Biodiversity

Why should we care about the oceans?
Answered by Julie Packard, John O'Sullivan and 1 other
  • Julie Packard

    Julie Packard

  • John O'Sullivan

    John O'Sullivan

  • Bruce Robison

    Bruce Robison

  1. Julie Packard Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium


    The oceans, for starters, of course cover the majority of our planet. It's interesting, being someone who's involved with the environmental movement and keenly into environmental issues. Really the ocean's been missing from the picture for so long. I would say a few decades ago we started learning about saving the rainforest, the lungs of the planet and all of this, but the oceans have really remained out of sight, out of mind.

    I think it is obvious why: We don't live there. We live on land. We're terrestrial beings. So much of our focus is on what goes on here on our comfort zone and our domain. It's really only been just the last decade we've been able to start raising awareness of what the planet's really about, and mainly it's about ocean.

    The majority of the living space, the majority of the area where life exists is underwater, if you look at it in three dimensions. Of course, the oceans are such a key piece of life. They're our life support system. I think that even though my personal passion for the environment began on land -- I studied botany. I love the land. The land ecosystems are kind of my first love, but after a while I realized, "What about the other two-thirds of the planet here?" No one's paying attention to that from a scientific standpoint really, not to mention from a standpoint of building awareness about what we need to do to manage ourselves in a more positive fashion to sustain that life support system.

    More answers from Julie Packard »

  2. John O'Sullivan Curator of Field Operations, Monterey Bay Aquarium


    On many different fronts, the oceans are critical to our survival, from the temperatures and how they affect our climate and our food production to the products that we receive from the ocean and food. And that's just what we know today. The oceans probably have a much greater effect on our lives than we presently know. Just what we know today, they're critical to maintain in a healthy ecosystem.

    The challenge is when you see a farmer in a field, and he's picking up the soil, and he knows how much rain he's had, he can test for parasites, he can look at everything about it. You think about what we try to do from an ocean point with a vessel on top and not -- well, we can use technology to get acoustics and look at maybe masses, we're still not clear on what we have and where they're going and how to manage it properly. The politics being an international community -- if you think of the ocean as -- it needs more voices to protect it.

    More answers from John O'Sullivan »

  3. Bruce Robison Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)


    Because in the short term and in the long term, they are intimately involved with our success and our future as individual people, as the national population and as a people who live on this planet. We can't ignore it. It's there with a tremendous influence on us today and our future. Granted, we have a great many compelling issues that are right up front and hit us between eyes every day.

    But if we focus only on those immediate issues and lose sight of the larger-scale problems, then however cleverly we resolve the immediate issues, the long-term problems are going to do us in just as surely.

    More answers from Bruce Robison »

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