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Scientists' Warning of an Imperiled Ocean

In this publication in Biological Conservation, we call upon humanity to recognize the damage that we are collectively doing to our global ocean, and urge the world to take immediate and transformative actions to safeguard and restore a healthy ocean. We invite scientists with post baccalaureate degrees to become signatories on our article to show support for this important message.

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We resoundingly agree that humanity must act quickly, with bold transformative actions to safeguard and restore healthy ecosystems in ocean habitats around the globe.

We must immediately and significantly alter our harmful trajectory in order to avoid irrevocably damaging our oceans in multiple ways that will further affect ocean health for both us and future generations. Significant ongoing and imminent activities are degrading ocean health, including destructive fishing practices, oil and natural gas extraction, seabed mining, coastal development, shipping, pollution, and greenhouse-gas emissions. But we already have avenues to mitigate these impacts if we act now, including the cessation of particularly harmful activities, restoration of damaged habitats, strong protection of key and representative ecosystems, reduction in waste and emissions, and global policy shifts that prioritize ecosystem health.

BACKGROUND: In 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists published the ‘World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity’ spelling out the alarming trajectory of human activities around the world[1]. In 2017, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries signed a second warning letter to humanity to caution against our continued wholesale destruction of global ecosystems[2]. A host of ancillary warning letters focused on a broad array of more specific topics have also been published in an effort to spread this message to a wide audience and to encourage and guide appropriate action by policy makers and stakeholders.  In the recently published publication in Biological Conservation, we reaffirm this message with a warning specifically focused on the ocean.

[1] [UCS] Union of Concerned Scientists. "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity." (1992).

[2] Ripple, W.J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T.M., Galetti, M., Alamgir, M., Crist, E., Mahmoud, M.I., Laurance, W.F. and 15,364 Scientist Signatories from 184 Countries, 2017. World scientists’ warning to humanity: a second notice. BioScience, 67(12), pp.1026-1028.

More ways to get involved

Scientist Signatures

Samuel Georgian, Marine Conservation Institute

Sarah Hameed, Marine Conservation Institute

Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Institute

Diva Amon, SpeSeas

U. Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia

David Johns, Portland State University

William J. Ripple, Oregon State University