We work on some of the biggest threats facing our ocean, especially those at the ocean-climate nexus.
The most dangerous threat to our global ocean comes from the excess of CO2 and other greenhouse gas pollution that is disrupting the planet. In the ocean, this disruption manifests in three interconnected drivers of dangerous change: super-heating, deoxygenation, and acidification. Together, these pose an existential threat to our ocean and all life that depends on it. Reversing climate disruption is the only durable path to reversing the ocean crisis. In order to do that, we must stop increasing and ultimately begin decreasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the upper layer of the ocean. Ocean Visions is leading cutting-edge research and development efforts around methods to remove CO2 from the air and sea using technologies that build upon existing biological and geological processes in the ocean. Learn more about ocean-based carbon dioxide removal in this factsheet.
Sea level rise, flooding, deposition, and erosion represent major threats to coastal communities and society along the world-ocean coastlines where the effects of climate change are increasing the frequency and amplitude of hurricanes, coastal storm surges, extreme rainfall, river discharge, and tidal- related flooding. It is critical and urgent that we develop the fundamental knowledge and tools to design optimal and equitable adaptive coastal resilience strategies against the threats of climate change that integrate innovations from science, technology, and governance.
The ocean economy since the industrial revolution has been based on linear models of extraction that have removed vast quantities of resources and returned only waste products. This linear extractive model must be redesigned if we are to sustain the ocean’s natural productivity and abundance. A sustainable ocean economy must be circular, which means eliminating waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use by prioritizing durability, reuse, and recycling, and regenerating natural systems to continually improve the environment. This Ocean Visions Task Force on the circular economy in the ocean is focused on redesigning food production systems in the ocean, via the incredible power of microalgae and macroalgae as sources of food and other biomaterials.
To effectively address the complex challenges facing our ocean, we must break down the silos that exist between various sectors engaged in developing and fielding solutions. These include scientists, engineers, managers, policymakers, businesses, communities, and other members of civil society. The Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS) is a collaborative effort to build a vibrant, global multi-sector community dedicated to co-designing and co-deploying equitable, durable, and scalable ocean-based solutions. GEOS was officially endorsed as a Program by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development in June 2021.