Michelle Bender, Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center writes on the importance of the oceans – which cover over seventy percent of our planet, regulates climate and provides food and jobs for hundreds of millions of people. Current changes to its systems have generated concerns for the future. Despite international laws and agreements designed for its protection, the health of our oceans is at risk. This is because current ocean law and policy largely focus on the impacts to humans, rather than the impacts on natural ecosystems. Implementing Rights of Nature legislation allows for such a basis, by recognizing that rights originate from existence and that humans are a part of the Earth, not above it. By adopting the Rights of Nature, and in this case the ocean, we ensure that our activities do not violate the oceans’ rights to life, to health, to be free of pollution and to continue its vital cycles. It is a vital step to not only ensure that we restore the health of the ocean, but protect our future. Photo credit: The Ecologist