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June 9th, 2010
12:31 PM ET

Opinion: Our lack of attention is killing the oceans

Chevy Chase and Jayni Chase
Special to CNN

The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface, and we hardly know anything about it.

The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface, and we hardly know anything about it.

These past six weeks, we've been thinking a lot about the ocean.

But there's a deeper story than this one oil spill. Unfortunately the Deepwater Horizon disaster is a pretty typical example of the way we think about the ocean: We just don't worry about stuff that happens out there.

The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface, and we hardly know anything about it. We humans are creating big problems because of what we don't know.

We take fish from the ocean to eat without really knowing where they came from, or what they eat, or how many of them there are, or if we're maybe taking the last one. We dump whatever we like in the ocean and watch it float away - to where? Who cares?

The ocean is a massive, unexplored area of our planet, and in the U.S., we spend less on getting to know it than we spend on getting to know outer space.

And our lack of attention is showing. Ocean fish are shrinking in size from year to year; coral reefs are being scraped away, and glorious ocean habitats are dying. But because it happens in the blank blue part of the globe, we don't hear about it or if we do, we don't pay attention.

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