A healthy ocean is a requirement for a healthy planet. According to leading scientists, the ocean's health is in a critical state, which affects everyone. The ocean forms one of the key operating systems of our planet, creating more than half our oxygen, driving our weather systems and modulating the atmosphere, as well as providing us with vital resources.
Damage to the ocean is not as immediately apparent as land destruction, but it is just as serious. According to Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of the world's leading oceanographers, the situation is now so severe that we are altering the chemistry of the ocean, with significant impacts on marine life and the functioning of marine ecosystems. "Ecosystems are collapsing as species are pushed to extinction and natural habitats are destroyed," has said Dr. Earle. "But there is still time to prevent irreversible change to our marine ecosystems by taking drastic action within the next decade."
The 34th America’s Cup is looking to leave a legacy that goes beyond fast boats, and has partnered with Earle and some of the world’s leading NGOs – including Marin's Marine Mammal Center – to create awareness about the urgent issues facing our oceans. With their America's Cup Healthy Ocean Project, event organizers hope to reach people who have an affinity for the world's oceans and motivate them to act to improve the health of the oceans.
Today on Earth Day, event organizers are encouraging people to join in the America's Cup Healthy Ocean Project effort by taking their pledge. Participants pledge to change one behavior – big or small – that benefits the ocean. "The idea is that changing one behavior can add up to a lifetime of change," said Jill McCarthy, head of partnerships for the Cup. Thousands took the pledge during the Cup's fall events in San Francisco, where participants also learned about issues plaguing the oceans through hands-on exhibits from local organizations such as the Bay Institute.
While there are numerous issues affecting ocean health, the 34th America’s Cup will highlight the following three areas where it believes its fans and followers can have the biggest direct impact:
- the establishment of marine protected areas as reserves of marine biodiversity
- the reduction of the amount of debris going into the oceans
- the increase in consumers choosing to consume only sea life that is sustainable
Next up, the AC Healthy Ocean Project presents An Evening with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of the show Mythbusters on April 25. To be held at the Bay Theatre at the Aquarium of the Bay, the evening will showcase Jamie and Adam sharing their adventures around the world, with a special focus on the myths and truths around oceans and sharks. Tickets are free, but are required for entry.