Marine Parks Save the Planet

Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed piece entitled To Save the Planet, Save the Seas. The article addresses shortcomings of the recent climate talks in Copenhagen. One result from these discussions is an incentives program encouraging countries to preserve carbon dioxide-absorbing land.

The author points out that while this is a move in the right direction, it neglects an important consideration: in addition to producing oxygen, oceans absorb ~25% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Thus countries should be encouraged to establish marine protected areas to preserve coastal habitats from human interference. Doing so is far less expensive than maintaining land, providing more bang for the buck.

As divers we have a strong incentive to support such marine parks. Existing parks provide some of the most pristine diving and active sea life in the world. Increasing marine preservation could only enhance diving worldwide.