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World Oceans Day: Protecting and celebrating our most precious natural resource

World Oceans Day, June 8, 2019

From space, planet Earth is easily recognizable as the “Blue Planet” with over 70% of its surface covered by oceans, yet scientists know less about the oceans than they do about the surface of the moon. While 95% of the world’s oceans are still waiting to be explored, what we do know is that they are vital in making our lives on Earth habitable. The oceans are the master regulators of the water cycle, climate, the oxygen that we breathe, and even most of our food that we grow. Together, the oceans and seas absorb more than 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, which helps counter the effects of global warming.

There are more than 124,000 species that have been identified in Earth’s oceans and sea, but given their sizes it is impossible to know the exact number, which may lie in the millions. The oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein production, however, poor management and regulation of the fishing industry have contributed to the rapid depletion of many fish species. In addition, human activities and development are major sources of ocean pollution, coastal damage, and habitat destruction.

Sustainable ocean management and the practice of ocean responsibility are crucial for the preservation of this essential natural resource. To prioritize the importance of this cause, the first World Oceans Day was celebrated at the United Nation’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 8, 1992. In 2008, the UN General Assembly designated June 8th as World Oceans Day. The goal of World Oceans Day is to raise awareness about the fundamental role that the oceans play in our lives, and to focus on the responsibilities we also must share to keep it clean, healthy, and protected for future generations. The UN utilizes this day to coordinate various activities that highlight how the UN body, along with international law, can assist in the sustainable development and use of oceanic resources.

ECOncrete launches a new partnership with the World Ocean Council (WOC)

Throughout the history of mankind, the oceans and seas have served as important channels of industry and transportation. According to the UN, “over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year, or about five per cent of global GDP.” The oceans and seas are clearly a significant source of sustenance for humans that must not be exploited!

Toward this vital goal, the World Ocean Council (WOC) was created in 2008 as a global, ocean industry leadership alliance committed to “Corporate Ocean Responsibility.” The WOC believes that the ocean business community can work together to promote the sustainable use and development of the ocean industry. This includes leaders from the shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, tourism, renewable energy (wind, wave, tidal), ports, and coastal infrastructure communities, and others to collaborate on responsible use of the seas.

ECOncrete®, a leader in bio-enhancing concrete solutions for coastal and marine infrastructure, is proud to announce its recent partnership with the World Ocean Council. ECOncrete®’s vision is to change the way that the coastal construction industry operates by providing innovative concrete technologies that are high-performance, resilient, and foster thriving ecosystems. Our (our or their?) cutting edge, environmentally sensitive concrete products harness natural processes like the growth of corals and oysters to increase biodiversity and ecosystem health on one hand, and strengthen the infrastructure on the other hand, unlike typical concrete infrastructures that offer limited environmental value and remain sensitive to erosion over time. In an era of climate change, increased pollution, and depletion of our oceans’ resources, ECOncrete®, together with the WOC, encourages companies across different sectors and countries, to develop their corporate ocean responsibility.

In November 2019, the WOC will be holding its 7th Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) in Paris. This annual gathering of the global ocean business community is dedicated to advancing private sector action on ocean sustainable development. The event is organized by WOC – the global Blue Economy Business Organization. The theme of this year’s conference is “Investing in Ocean Futures: Finance and Innovation for the Blue Economy.” According to the WOC website, “the SOS 2019 will be the foremost international business conference dedicated to investment and innovation for ocean sustainable development”. ECOncrete® strives to take active part in the SOS, because taking action is crucial for saving our seas, and industries must take the lead toward real change!

Toward greater ocean responsibility

World Oceans Day may only come around once a year, but ocean responsibility must be practiced everyday by individuals and industries alike. With the National Ocean Service reporting a decline in the health of many ecosystems and rising extinction rates, corporate ocean responsibility is more important than ever before in maintaining sustainable oceans.

The World Economic Forum recommends different ways to protect the ocean while enhancing economic growth, such as harvesting fisheries at sustainable levels to ensure continuing supply. This can be done by instituting tighter fishing regulations and stopping illegal fishing. Another recommendation is to explore new options for business opportunities in the oceans, such as deep sea mining as an alternative to the oil and gas industries. With two-thirds of the world’s population living along shorelines, maintaining the environmental quality of coastal communities is also important for economic growth. Effective measures must be taken to manage coastal development and build responsible shoreline projects including: proper sewage treatment, runoff control, and the construction of coastal infrastructure to protect the shorelines.

New, state-of-the-art technologies like ECOncrete® are now available, so that coastal structures can provide more than protection from storms and erosion, but also boost the marine environment. Bold “Blue” energy technologies like Eco-Wave power are also making a splash on the sustainable energy market. Inna Braverman’s wave powered energy company has changed the way the world is viewing eco-friendly energy production and consumption. Inna, a fellow Israeli entrepreneur, is harnessing the power of natural wave patterns and turning it into sustainably farmed energy. A potential synergy might even evolve between ECOncrete and Eco-Wave regarding coastal pier construction in Mexico!

The world’s oceans provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, our recreation and our livelihood. World Oceans Day highlights these important contributions, but it is upon all of us to do our part to raise awareness, to help protect the oceans from further harm, and to ensure the future of life on Earth.

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