Thursday marks World Oceans Day, a United Nations program focused on raising awareness of one of our planet’s most important resources.

Whether we live in the ocean or not, we are all bound to the salty water of the sea.

“Our survival depends on a healthy ocean,” said Cassandra Brooks with the University of Colorado.

On this year’s World Ocean Day, the UN is calling attention to human impact on the ocean, how to protect the aqueous ecosystem’s health, and how to defend its organisms.

“Oceans are critically threatened by not just climate change but also habitat degradation and overfishing,” said Brooks.

According to the UN, the oceans generate roughly 50% of the world’s oxygen. Fish are a main source of protein for more than 1 billion people.

By 2030, about 40 million people will work in fields that revolve around the ocean, like shipbuilding, fishing and transportation.

Experts say our oceans are under attack and state that by 2050, the amount of plastics in the ocean could outweigh all the fish.

Data from the National Oceanic Administration found that fossil fuel use has driven levels of carbon dioxide in the air to its highest point 4 million years.

“Deep waters capture CO2 and store it in a way that keeps it from going up in the atmosphere and causing climate change,” said Samantha Muka, assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology. “What we don’t know is how much CO2 the ocean can absorb and when that will start to affect marine life.”

Besides calling for an end to single-use plastics and less fossil fuel use/production, advocates say you can visit UNWorldOceansDay.org to learn more about how you can help.

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