Give Thanks to the Ocean and Great Lakes

Posted Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:29

This time of year, many of us gather around to give thanks for our family, friends, and delicious food, but we should give our thanks to the ocean and Great Lakes as well. After all, they give us so much.  

The ocean gives us over half the oxygen in our atmosphere.

View of a coral reef from the air with clouds
This coral matrix in the Pearl and Hermes Atoll helps produce tons of oxygen for us to breathe (Photo Credit: NOAA)


The ocean and Great Lakes give us places to swim, fish, kayak, boat, and enjoy.

People in a two person kayak.
In January 2018 Save Our Shores volunteers removed 104 pounds of debris, and had a lot of fun kayaking, in Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. (Photo Credit: Save Our Shores/Shay Hlavaty)


They give us dynamic animals to watch, fueling ecotourism and providing joy to those who get to see them.

Humpack whale and her calf.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary shelters humpbacks every winter as they breed and calve their young in the waters of Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Ed Lyman/NOAA Permit #14682)  


These bodies of water give us food, whether it’s the fish you have for dinner, the seaweed around your sushi, or the carageenan in your ice cream.

Man surf fishing.
Whether you catch the fish yourself or buy it from the store, seafood is a healthy and delicious food source and supplies jobs for many Americans. (Photo Credit: NOAA)


Over three-quarters of all U.S. trade travels on the oceans or Great Lakes at some point, so you can also thank our ocean and Great Lakes for the packages you order on cyber Monday.

Here at the NOAA Marine Debris Program, we are thankful for the community of partners who support our mission and are the key to keeping our sea free of debris. We could not do our work without them. We will show our thanks by continuing support the incredible projects that remove debris from our shore, educate the public about this important issue, and conduct research on this vital topic.  How will you show your thanks?