Happy World Oceans Day! For our final nonprofit spotlight of the Upgrade Your World campaign, Windows is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to preserve our planet’s vital natural resource: our oceans. We teamed up on the Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative which, in the words of The Nature Conservancy’s Jennifer Greene, Strategy Lead for Integrated Ocean and Coastal Management for North America Ocean and Coasts, “Helps make the invisible, visible.” The project creates underwater habitat maps to increase our understanding of how healthy marine ecosystems benefit people by producing food, removing pollution, protecting our shorelines and more. Leveraging this science and technology, the Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative is at work in more than 40 sites around the world including the Caribbean, Mexico, Micronesia, and Australia, ultimately helping to better understand how to sustain ocean resources for generations to come.
I recently had the opportunity to travel across the country from Seattle, WA to Nahant, MA – a small and picturesque coastal town with beautiful old houses and rocky beaches – to learn more about this important work. In Nahant we met with scientists, the Marine Coast Fisherman’s Association and The Nature Conservancy to hear firsthand how critical it is to protect the waters off the coast in the Gulf of Maine. The rich fish and wildlife populations found in these waters are of vital importance to the local community of fishermen who rely largely on the cod population for their livelihood; and over a lunch of fish and chips, we learned how this industry is evolving. Fishing is a tradition that has been passed down through generations, but the practice is adapting with the times – today’s fishermen are using camera systems to count their catches, and habitat data to understand how to make these populations sustainable.
The Mapping Ocean Wealth Initiative is setting out to calculate and quantify all that the ocean does for us in order to inform decisions and investments in this resource. What does ‘ocean wealth’ really mean? The term refers to the value that humans get from the ocean. This includes:
- Covering 70% of our planet and supporting 100% of life on Earth
- Contributing 50-85% of the oxygen in the atmosphere
- Providing 17% of the global population’s protein
- Supporting a $190 billion global seafood industry
While it’s clear that the oceans provide tangible value to us all, what stood out to me from meeting these scientists and researchers is the strong emotional connection we all share with oceans. We asked every person we interviewed what their favorite memory of the ocean was, and their answers had many similarities. The ocean makes us think of our family, and of childhood vacations. It drives our curiosity, makes us humble, and reminds us we are connected with the natural world.
Windows is proud to support The Nature Conservancy with a $500,000 cash investment and technology donations as a partner in our Upgrade Your World Campaign. We are excited to see them continue to leverage technology to better understand and conserve our oceans for generations to come.
Everyone can play a role in helping to celebrate and protect our oceans. Small, everyday changes – like eating sustainably caught seafood and limiting use of fertilizers – can make a big difference. Learn more: nature.org/OceansPledge
Updated June 8, 2016 9:38 am