AGU Position Statement: Ocean Research and Education Are Foundations for Economic Growth
In many ways, Earth’s natural resources have an impact on every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat and the clothes we wear to the electronics we use and the power that keeps them all running. Many of our natural resources face significant challenges that must be addressed, lest our lives be significantly impacted.
America faces increasing stresses to water resources. Growing demand, pollutants, and land use and climate change all impact this vital natural resource.
The ocean and its resources are vital to life and to our livelihood on Earth. The ocean provides efficient global transportation routes and vast energy resources. It also modulates weather and global climate, regulates the supply of fresh water to land, and supports a wealth of biology diversity. As such, investments in ocean research and education benefit the economic well-being of all nations.
Substantial natural gas reserves now attainable through hydraulic fracturing may help enable American energy independence. However, science and monitoring is key to establish baselines and determine possible adverse human health and environmental effects. Offshore oil and natural gas drilling also represents an important American energy prospect.
Renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, and wave/tidal have exciting possibilities for economic growth and stability. However, high start-up and maintenance costs are significant challenges for these important energy resources.
Many of our modern day electronics are made up of critical minerals. Despite substantial available resources, the U.S. is currently facing a shortage of these vital materials. Recycling and new mining efforts could be the answer to American critical mineral independence.
"Many of our natural resources face significant challenges that must be addressed, lest our lives be significantly impacted."