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What Is The True Value Of The Oceans?

April 18, 2013

Mission Blue takes a stab at adding it all up.

The video totally nails the problem that traditional economics does not value or account for “natural capital,” the single greatest (and most catastrophic) flaw in the way we humans conduct our lives, cultures and economies. So thanks for getting that key point out.

But the video also irks me slightly because:

1) No value is placed on preserving the oceans simply because they are the most spectacular, beautiful, awesome, and life-nurturing resource on the planet (what I would call “existential capital”). Sure, those are intangibles, but not all value attached to the ocean can be expressed in dollars and cents, or benefits to the human race. And the lives of all the myriad species that live in the ocean are invaluable, even if they don’t directly benefit humans (or contribute to our cosmetics!). Even if the oceans didn’t protect our beach homes, provide us with a tourist destination, or regulate the climate so we don’t all overheat, I’d be in favor of protecting and defending the oceans. The oceans are the heart and soul of the planet.

2) The remedies are sorta lame. Go to a green resort? Buy “sustainable” fish, whatever that is? That won’t save the oceans. Saving the oceans, and stopping ocean acidification will require much more dramatic shifts in our behavior and culture. How about urging people to stop eating meat (the single greatest step any human can take to protect the planet)? And stop eating fish, period? Or stop living in humungous houses that are heated and cooled to ridiculous temperatures? Or to reduce their driving, and travel by airplane (the carbon emissions of that trip to the beach are significant)? Or stop using so much plastic? Or any number of the other 3,546 things that modern humans do that impact the oceans?

Maybe people should watch this video (and movie) instead, because Revolution really is the right response to the crisis of the oceans:

One Comment leave one →


  1. picturemypoetry

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