They are the same as land parks, but are within our oceans. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, one of the oldest ocean parks, has an estimated asset value of $42 billion, which is approaching the market value of companies such as BMW. Yes, they hold monetary value due to their roles in our economies. Tourism, jobs, food, etc., are part of the benefits that come from preserving them, but most importantly they are paramount for human survival. Their environmental value is priceless, and we need them to survive. The Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations both set a global goal of conserving at least 10% of our oceans by 2020. Researchers at universities including Harvard have suggested that we will need to protect as much as half the planet if we genuinely hope to sustain healthy ecosystems and societies.
Achieving the 10% target for ocean parks by 2020 may be just within reach. There would be much to gain from success - more biodiversity, more food and more wealth. Given these clear benefits, we must redouble our ambitious efforts to create a global network of these well-managed undersea treasures. As for Hawaii, think of it as being surrounded by this amazingly unique water park that must be appreciated and cared for.
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