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Sea Change

How to Save the Oceans

Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, June 13, 2010. Sean Gardner / Courtesy Reuters

The oceans of studies on dying seas have done nothing to stop their devastation. In a 2011 report, the Oxford-based International Program on the State of the Ocean wrote that the planet faced “losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation.” Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the effects of human-induced climate change are already far-reaching. It also singled out ocean acidification. As the oceans absorb higher levels of carbon, the more acidic water threatens coral reefs, shellfish, and other marine life.

The experts only confirm what people around the world see every day: marshland, once teeming with wildlife, paved over; subsistence fishermen in poor countries driven from the ocean by industrial fishing; recreational fishermen chasing fewer and smaller fish farther out to sea; surfers getting hepatitis shots before entering sewage-contaminated waters; families on vacation snorkeling through coral

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