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When you think of a national park, your first thoughts might be about Th Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. We think about large landscapes and tons of woodland creatures. However, not many of us think about oceans and this is a problem. There are a number of national parks already affiliated with oceans. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and Cabo Pulmo National Park are two very good examples. Although they may not be as famous as some other national parks, they are really worth the support. From a purely aesthetic side of things, these locations are gorgeous. They offer an amazing and beautiful spot for people to reconnect with nature and sightsee. They are an excellent destination for travelers of all ages. However, national parks serve a much more important service than tourism. National parks are areas that are maintained and owned by a national government for public access. These locations have been classified as holding some sort of importance that encourages the government to protect the area. These reasons can range from anything to preserving gorgeous landscapes to protecting wildlife. The government forbids any activities they believe could be detrimental to these areas. By prohibiting things such as hunting or commercial land development, national parks are an idea way to help save the planet. Oceans are a very important part of this planet. They make up a huge portion of the planet. In fact, 71% of the surface of our planet is covered by oceans. You cannot begin to discuss saving the planet without addressing the oceans. Aside from sheer size, oceans also play a vital role in our ecosystems. It is difficult to capture all of the ways that the ocean is vital for our existence. It can be helpful to highlight a few key things to offer a bit of understanding. For one thing, they are a huge source of water. 97% of all water on earth is found in oceans. This is the water we need for everything from drinking water and climate management. The water is also home to hundreds of thousands of different species -and that is just of what we have confirmed. Having such a large diversity in organisms is not only good from an ecological standpoint. Millions of people rely off of the ocean for food. More indirectly, the fishery industry is a huge part of our economy. If something were to happen to disrupt the ecosystem, it would be a catastrophic event that would leave millions of people without jobs or food. You don’t need to be a fisherman or a fan of seafood to benefit from ocean life. These organisms also produce more than half of all of the oxygen in the atmosphere (as well as reduce carbon). The quality of the ocean directly contributes to everything from the water we drink to the air we breathe. Considering how these factors impact everyone, you would think that everyone does what they can to protect it. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our oceans are suffering right now, and humanity is a main factor. Although there are many organizations doing what they can to spread awareness, it is simply not enough. The ocean has become a literal dumping ground for our wastes. These wastes hinder wildlife and can directly impact water chemistry. I think we have all seen images of turtles caught in plastic or mutated fish near company dumps. Although there are certainly people that engage in these activities fully understanding the negative impact it has on the environment, a lot of it is done by accident. You may be surprised to know how you can be harming the ocean without even knowing it. Using certain fertilizers in your lawn or wearing specific sun screens are two rather common ways people accidently contribute to harming the environment. The problem is, many people just don’t realize what they are doing. Those that fully understand and continue to do these things don’t feel there is any real consequence to what they are doing. This is where governments come in. Having protective regulations enforced by the government could make a big difference. Policies could educate people about how to take care of the oceans. They also discourage others from engaging in such activities. It is a way to help protect the oceans without forcing people out. Establishing safe zones is one such way. A safe zone is a friendly way to remind people visiting the ocean to keep it safe. These zones can be made by anyone. You can see them at the local beach or on a cruise ship. Even businesses, companies, and local governments can declare themselves a safe zone. This would mean the establishments would remind visitors not to litter or to use products that may impact water quality. It is a gentle way remind people to watch their behavior and limit pollution. For larger areas that need a little extra protection, creating national parks may be the best way to go. As apposed to safe zones, national parks have much stricter legal protections. They don’t simply discourage bad behaviors, they prohibit them. Although they are a little more involved to establish, they are the most effective method in preventing damage to a certain area while still allowing visits. ¬†Creating more national parks in the ocean will expand protection and help keep the ocean healthy. The United States is currently at a crucial political point in regards to national park management. It is not more important than ever to educate yourself on environmental crises and learn what you can do to make a difference.