As they do, they’ll unlock more of the ocean’s secrets. With only roughly 5 percent of Earth’s oceans explored thus far, there is an urgent need, and an ideal opportunity, to better understand how the ocean affects climate change, and what it can teach us about clean energy and food sustainability.
And, of course, there’s the ocean’s astonishing biodiversity. What medical breakthroughs might we stumble upon through the discovery of new species?
The first Proteus habitat, slated for completion in 2023, will feature a video production studio, intended to allow millions of people around the globe a chance to experience the wonders of life under the sea. Through Proteus, more will come to understand the power of our simple message: No ocean, no life.
Every day that we fail to find solutions to the climate crisis is a day that we come closer to losing another species to the ravages of a warming planet. Climate change isn’t going to slow down so that our own priorities can catch up.
Yet I have hope. A research station like Proteus is essential to protecting our waters — and to assuring our future: I believe the marine environment may well contain natural compounds that could help ease this pandemic or the next one.
Historically, in times of extreme crisis, humanity has come together to share ideas, put in place bold solutions and find new ways to survive. Now is the time for similar action. As we look to 2021 and beyond, we must finally take the steps necessary to protect our oceans, relying on science and the power of human ingenuity. Our lives depend on it.
Fabien Cousteau, an aquanaut and environmentalist, is the founder of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center.
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