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OCEANS supply not only much of the food we eat but also many ingredients we need to have to make medicine. Our oceans generate more than half the world’s oxygen, and they absorb carbon emissions from human activity. In addition to that, oceans regulate our climate.

The Threats to Our Oceans

Climate change threatens coral reefs, shellfish, and other marine life. Scientists predict that almost all reefs​—which support at least a quarter of all known life in the sea—​could be at risk of dying within the next 30 years.

Experts estimate that up to 90 percent of seabirds may have eaten plastic, and ocean plastic is thought to kill millions of sea animals every year.

“We have taken the ocean for granted,” stated UN Secretary-General António Guterres in 2022, “and today we face what I would call an ‘Ocean Emergency.’”

Our Planet​—Designed to Survive

Oceans and the life within them are designed to keep themselves clean and healthy when not overwhelmed by human pollution. The book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation explains that when a part of the sea is protected from human industry, “the innate regenerative capacity of oceans is allowed to operate unhindered.” Consider a few examples:

  • Tiny organisms called phytoplankton consume and store carbon dioxide​—the main gas believed to cause global warming. Phytoplankton alone store almost the same amount of carbon dioxide as that stored by all the trees, grasses, and other land-based plants on earth combined.

  • Microbes feed on waste products of fish, which would otherwise pollute the ocean. Then the microbes themselves become food for other marine creatures. This cooperative arrangement “keeps the ocean clean and clear,” according to the Smithsonian Institution Ocean Portal.

  • Many ocean creatures use their digestive system to transform acidic ocean waters​—which harm corals, shellfish, and other creatures—​into healthier alkaline waters.

What Is Being Done

Using reusable bags and refillable water bottles can help reduce the amount of plastic waste in our oceans

Waste that never enters the ocean never has to be cleaned up. So experts encourage people to reuse bags, tools, and containers instead of using plastic items once and then discarding them.

But more is needed. Recently, in one year, an environmental organization collected 9,200 tons of beach litter dumped by ocean tides in 112 countries. Yet, that was only about one thousandth of the trash that enters the ocean each year.

National Geographic reported that “the acidification [of the oceans] that has occurred so far is probably irreversible.” Sea creatures are “up against a global economy built on cheap fossil fuels. It’s not a fair fight.”

Reasons for Hope​—What the Bible Says

“The earth is full of what you have made. There is the sea, so great and wide, teeming with countless living things, both small and great.”​—Psalm 104:24, 25.

Our Creator made the oceans and their ability to purify themselves. Consider: If he knows so much about the sea and all marine life, might he also be qualified to undo the damage that has been done to our oceans? See the article “God Promises That Our Planet Will Survive,” on page 15.