The Pacific Ocean is the most populated ocean on the planet, and the Pacific states are culturally and economically dependent upon the sustainability of their marine environment. One of the voluntary commitments undertaken at the 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference was to accord the Pacific Ocean the same protective legal rights as individuals now enjoy. Granting legal rights to the Pacific Ocean allows lawsuits to be filed on behalf of ecosystems. Practically, this would, by 2020, allow the filing of lawsuits on behalf of ecosystems and this means that there will no longer be a requirement to demonstrate personal human injury to protect and restore the ecosystems’ health. Scientific communities and NGOs are expected to advocate the initiative. Photo credit: Panos