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Breakdown: Why our oceans are important

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 6:30 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We live on a blue planet, with oceans and seas covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.

Oceans are an essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem -- a source of biodiversity, food, and life.

The world ocean provides so many benefits. Here are ten things the ocean does for humans and the planet, according to NOAA:

  • The air we breathe: The ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
  • Climate regulation: Covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.
  • Transportation: Seventy-six percent of all U.S. trade involves some form of marine transportation.
  • Recreation: From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the ocean provides us with many unique activities.
  • Economic benefits: The U.S. ocean economy produces $282 billion in goods and services and ocean-dependent businesses employ almost three million people.
  • Food: The ocean provides more than just seafood; ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk.
  • Medicine: Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

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