Take a deep breath. And now another…
Every second breath you take comes from our oceans.
It’s often said that most of our planet’s oxygen comes from rainforests but they are actually responsible for around a third of it. The vast majority of our oxygen comes from marine plants in our beautiful blue oceans.¹ Every breath we take is connected to our oceans.
Oceans are crucial for carbon storage. Over 80% of global carbon is circulated through our ocean.²
Our oceans are a big blue life force. Through diverse marine ecosystems, our oceans are the world’s greatest superhero in carbon storage and sequestration. Often referred to as ‘blue carbon’, marine ecosystems can capture and store carbon at rates almost double to terrestrial ecosystem.³
Blue carbon is the carbon stored in the following coastal and marine ecosystems:
- Salt & Tidal Marshes – covering roughly 140 million hectares of Earth’s surface, studies have shown that restoring and rehabilitating compromised salt and tidal marches improves their ability to store carbon³
- Coral Reefs – Corals play a role in the carbon cycle, but it is ultimately the seagrass meadows and mangrove forests of our marine ecosystems that are long-term sequesters.
- Seabed – Carbon dioxide is naturally stored as carbonate sediments on the seafloor.
- Kelp Forests – Kelp forests are the ‘biological engine’ of Australia’s Great Southern Reef, which stretches around the southern half of our continent.
- Seagrass Meadows – Seagrasses cover less than 0.2% of the ocean floor but store about 10% of the carbon buried in the ocean beds each year.
- Mangroves – Mangroves are critical fish nurseries and carbon sinks, and the first line of defence against storm surges.
- Whales & Plankton – Carbon is absorbed by phytoplankton and other tiny marine flora which our giant whales eat by the tonne capturing the carbon.
Healthy oceans are central to the fight to save our planet.
While the protection of rainforests to mitigate climate change is well known, the role of our oceans does not get as much attention. If blue carbon coastal and marine ecosystems are degraded or destroyed, these broken ecosystems will emit the carbon they have stored for centuries – further supercharging dangerous climate change with yet more greenhouse gases. We must protect and restore our blue carbon coastal and marine ecosystems.