Our Ocean Planet

The earth’s oceans are at a breaking point, and we must help them heal if we want to survive the challenges of climate change.

This is a transcript of the film, which was produced by NRDC, Bloomfish Pictures, and Rock, Paper, Scissors. It premiered at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 14, 2018.

Narrated by Sigourney Weaver: Life began in the ocean. And the ocean has sustained life ever since. It provides us with food, oxygen, and fresh water, the riches with which we have built civilizations.

The ocean connects all things: earth to atmosphere, continents and cultures. The ocean controls and stabilizes our climate. It absorbs one-quarter of the carbon we emit burning fossil fuels, and stores 90 percent of the sun's heat on our warming planet. It distributes that heat around the world through ocean currents, moderating temperatures, maintaining favorable conditions for life everywhere.

But for too long, we have taken the ocean for granted.

Acting as though its resources were infinite, its systems immutable, we have pushed past its limits. Now the ocean is starting to falter, its water heating and acidifying, its corals bleaching, its islands drowning, its fish stocks in decline.

And yet we rely on the ocean now more than ever to guard humanity against climate change itself.

We must help the ocean heal.

That means turning away from dirty fuels and toward the abundant renewable energy nature bestows. We must also protect the ocean's ability to store carbon dioxide.

We can do this by nurturing the rainforests of the ocean, habitats that capture carbon and also help protect coastal communities, and by preserving the foundation of the ocean's food web, the organisms that help transport carbon to the deep sea.

The ocean can use its enormous power to cleanse and regenerate itself if we only give it a chance, by fishing sustainably and creating protected zones where life can flourish and adapt to the changing climate, and by using science to continue unraveling the ocean's secrets.

Because if we truly understand and respect it, the ocean will help us safeguard all life on earth.

Policy Primer

Our current system of managing the waters that cover almost half our planet does little to ensure the long-term survival of marine ecosystems.


We’re drowning marine ecosystems in trash, noise, oil, and carbon emissions.

onEarth Story

As mining interests deepen in the southeastern Pacific, researchers are racing the clock—and pushing the frontiers of science—to understand this unknown stretch of sea.


Carbon pollution isn't just warming the climate—it's also making our oceans more acidic. NRDC scientist Lisa Suatoni explains why we must pay attention.

NRDC in Action

On daytime TV, in film, and on Capitol Hill, scientist Lisa Suatoni opens people's eyes to the plight of the seas.


How NRDC helped form an unlikely alliance to help protect 38,000 square miles of unique habitat in the Atlantic.

Action Figure

Austrian students transformed trash into a giant whale sculpture. Now they’re using it to bring international attention to the issue of ocean pollution.


NRDC’s Eric Goldstein gives the scoop on the latest environmental villain and explains why plastic straws really are a big menace to our oceans.

onEarth Story

The back-to-back events have scientists worried about the reef's ability to recover.


It’s a complex issue, but NRDC attorney Molly Masterton says that a combination of smart management policies and consumer vigilance is key to the solution.

NRDC in Action

NRDC played a key role in banning offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic. Once again, it’s fighting to protect those oceans—and the rest of America’s waters.

onEarth Story

For the oceans’ sake, we’d better hope so.

onEarth Story

Consumers want more than fisheries can supply, and certification standards are falling.

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