WWF: World’s Ocean Is Worth Over $24 Trillion

A new report released today by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that the ocean’s worth is over $24 trillion dollars, and that doesn’t include oil drilling. They report that we obtain $2.5 trillion dollars worth of goods and services from the oceans, and what’s more? We aren’t even taking good care of this resource that provides so much to us.

WWF On The Amazing Worth of Our Oceans

According to the report, if the oceans were a nation, the gross domestic product value would be $24 trillion, sitting in seventh place, just behind that of Great Britain and in front of those of Russia, India and Brazil. WWF Chief Marco Lambertini stated that although the riches of the oceans rival that of our wealthiest nations, if they were a nation, it would be in the throes of a failed economy because those who take from it do nothing to give back or maintain the oceans’ worth.

In the report, titled “Reviving The Ocean Economy,” the 60-page report states that, although massive, the figure of $24 trillion is still an underestimate. They didn’t even try including into the the ocean’s net worth: the traveling and drilling offshore for gas, oil, and wind energy–or the value of the role the ocean plays in regulating Earth’s climate. The report was created along with the Boston Consulting Group and Queensland University Global Change Institute, and it goes on to say that the oceans today are changing faster than at any other time in the past millions of years.

The Bounty of the Ocean is Failing

The WWF placing a dollar figure on the ocean’s worth is an attempt to open people’s eyes to the bounty the ocean provides to us and to the fact that we need to do something now to keep that worth from traveling downward beyond repair. Climate change is a large part of why the ocean’s worth is failing, and showing signs of seriously worsening health.

If the oceans continue to warm due to climate change, the coral in the world will all be diminished by 2050. The corals contain many of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, but are very delicate and subject the temperatures of the ocean.  Half of all coral has already died. Fisheries that are collapsing due to overfishing, deforestation of mangrove forests, corals and sea grass disappearing are all threatening the lives and livelihood of millions and millions of people that depend on the oceans.

Suggested Solutions

According to the WWF, not all hope is lost. Not yet. The report makes eight suggestions for ways to reverse and stop the damage to our ocean’s health. These include ocean recovery figuring prominently in the United Nations development goals for sustainability. In addition, it is strongly advised that the UN take action by addressing the acidification and warming of the oceans. The report also calls for a minimum of 10% of marine and coastal areas to be effectively managed and protected by 2020, and by 30% by 2030. Hundreds of millions of people depend directly on the ocean’s worth for jobs, food, access or travel, and recreation. Not to mention our weather and the millions of aquatic species out there. The report states that it is time to stop simply taking from the oceans, and start giving back by interacting responsibly with this priceless bounty of life.

The ocean is not only beautiful, but invaluable. We sure know how we can enjoy it as shown in this summer vacation by the waters in Croatia–but how about we appreciate it?: