Oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and support an extraordinarily diverse world. Only a fraction of ocean life has been discovered so far, and much of it remains a mystery that we are just starting to unveil. Oceans produce half of the oxygen of our atmosphere and give food to billions of people. Half of the planet’s population lives on coastal areas and islands, and 90% of the world’s trade transits through oceans. But oceans are also particularly affected by human pressures: overfishing, pollution from plastic debris and other sources, acidification, and rising temperatures are just some of the threats to oceans.

Find out how we can better preserve oceans and use them more sustainability, and how they can help us in our fight against climate change.

Learning Resources

How are communities around the world developing sustainable solutions to protect and preserve their oceans? These resources profile people and programs that are making a difference.


It’s Not a Sushi Bar—It’s the Sea

How do protected areas keep our oceans clean? Find out in this ‘short and sweet’ IUCN World Parks Congress public service announcement! Length: 0:32 minutes. Source: IUCN.

An Ocean Short of Breath

Oceans are home to hundreds of thousands of species and supply half of the oxygen we breathe. Yet they are under threat from pollution, overfishing, climate change, and more. Ensuring healthy oceans and coastlines is a goal of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 in Hawaiʻi and a highlight of this National Geographic Society video created for IUCN. Length: 1:06 minutes. Source: IUCN.

UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage

Take a journey to three exceptional World Heritage marine sites: iSimangaliso Wetland Park (South Africa), Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles), and Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek (USA/Canada). Visit UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme to learn more about how you can help protect our “Crown Jewels of the Ocean.” Length: 4:11 minutes. Source: World Heritage Marine Programme.

Conserving Our Coral Reefs

The world’s coral reefs are vulnerable to environmental impacts and overfishing. Yet fishing communities depend on reefs for survival. In this animated video, Joshua Drew explains how a system called “connectivity” in Fiji protects the natural world while accommodating local needs. Length: 3:15 minutes. Source: TEDEd.

Exploring the World Heritage Convention for High Seas Conservation

The high seas cover half the earth but are unprotected. The UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme is exploring how it can preserve places beyond national jurisdiction that might be of “Outstanding Universal Value.” Length: 2:16 minutes. Source: World Heritage Marine Programme.

Oceans and Climate Change

Oceans produce 70% of the oxygen that we breathe and absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But as more and more carbon dioxide is absorbed, they become warmer and more acidic. How will climate change impact our oceans and marine biodiversity? Length: 6:38 minutes. Source. IUCN.

Ocean Acidification at Google Earth Tour

What does all that carbon dioxide we emit do to our oceans, and what consequences could this have for our future? This animated Google Earth tour takes us on a global journey to understand the impact carbon dioxide has on ocean chemistry. Length: 8:39 minutes. Source: https://ocean-acidification.net.

Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas as a Nature-based Solutions to Climate change

Learn how Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play an important role in mitigating the impacts of climate change and increasing the ecological and socioeconomic resilience of coastal communities. Length: 4:06 minutes. Source: IUCN.

700 Marine Species Threatened by Plastic Debris

Nearly 700 species of marine animal are threatened by man-made debris such as plastic and glass, according to a new global study. Length: 1:02 minutes. Source: BBC News.

Struggling to Save Fiji’s Marine Wealth

The blue waters surrounding the Pacific nation of Fiji is home to abundant marine life. But today, environmental threats are jeopardizing the archipelago’s rich underwater world. To save it, all stakeholders, from fishermen to politicians, must band together. Length: 7:15 minutes. Source: Deutsche Welle.

Coral Reefs and Climate Change

A cautionary tale to draw attention to the plight of coral reefs: Unless we do more to protect these fragile ecosystems, coral reefs could become extinct by 2050 due to pollution and climate change. Length: 12:39 minutes. Source: Earth Touch News Network.