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How much would it cost to buy the ocean? - Astrid J. Hsu

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1,142 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Surveying his vast domain, Poseidon considers retirement. What if someone else donned the coral crown so he could spend his immortality harmonizing with whales and cozying up to hydrothermal vents? Poseidon decides he needs to prioritize himself for once. So, he summons his accountant and asks: how much could he sell the ocean for? Astrid J. Hsu conducts a financial analysis of our oceans’ worth.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Evaluating the value of our oceans is possible because we recognize that nature provides society with benefits that have real value and impact, otherwise known as ecosystem services! There are four categories of services defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization: provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services. 

These services can sometimes be hard to picture and place, but one way to visualize ocean resources and wealth is through an atlas. Mapping Ocean Wealth helps visualize how marine resources can differ by region and ecosystem. Some regions particularly benefit from their local ocean resources, but other services like oxygen and heat capture can be appreciated by all people regardless of geography.

Want to learn more about what’s being done to conserve and grow the ocean’s value? You can read up on global commitments outlined in the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. Here you can check progress on commitments such as protect and restore ecosystems and increase the economic benefits from sustainable use of marine resources. And while these goals are set by countries, individual action matters too. People can choose to only eat sustainably caught seafood through Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and refuse to use single-use plastic. Last but not least, share and engage others in discussing sustainable use of marine resources. Conserving and growing a robust blue economy must be done equitably and include voices from local communities, so invite others into the conversation.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Astrid J. Hsu
  • Director Igor Coric
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Sound Designer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Produced by Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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