A report from Sally Campbell on the Greenpeace 30X30 campaign
Read the full report: www.greenpeace.org
Greenpeace is championing the urgent need to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, to protect wildlife and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. A strong Global Ocean Treaty would provide a legal framework to create and manage a network of ocean sanctuaries which would help protect habitats and marine life, rebuild ocean biodiversity, maintain vital ecosystem services and help our oceans to recover.
Why do oceans matter?
Beyond national waters there is a global ocean which encompasses almost half of the earth’s surface. These vast “high seas” are home to a complex, rich and diverse submarine world. The marine life inhabiting this world drives the ocean’s biological pump, capturing carbon at the surface and storing it deep below. Without this essential service, our atmosphere would contain 50% more carbon dioxide and the world be uninhabitable.
Why are they under threat?
The global ocean is facing increasing stress from climate change, industrial fishing, ocean acidification, plastic and other pollution and emerging threats from deep sea mining and other extractive industries.
Scientists are calling for at least 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected as ocean sanctuaries…areas safe from human exploitation.
On 11 April, 2019 the 30X30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection was launched at City Hall in London by Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, Professor Callum Roberts, Emily Thornberry MP and Michael Gove MP. Nearby the Esperanza, the Greenpeace International ship, was berthed alongside HMS Belfast in the Port of London. The largest and swiftest ship in the Greenpeace fleet, she is a former Russian fire-fighting vessel and she has spent the last 25 years fighting environmental emergencies for Greenpeace. The ship has a heavy ice class, giving it the ability to work in polar regions. It has a top speed of 16 knots and an overall length of 72.3 m. It was a real treat to visit the ship and be shown around. She carries 17 crew and a couple of volunteers.
Greenpeace has now launched one of its biggest ever expeditions – an almost year-long pole to pole voyage from the Arctic to the Antarctic – to highlight the many threats facing the oceans and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters. Esperanza will be visiting many of the areas identified as in need of protection by the ground-breaking academic study 30×30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection, and this Protect the Oceans expedition will see scientists and campaigners team up to research the threats of climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, deep sea mining and oil drilling. Her first stop is Svalbard a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. This is a vital expedition to draw attention to the problems highlighted and convince the United Nations to act. A team of scientists, photographers and campaigners is setting out on this epic journey from the North Pole to the South Pole to document a year in the life of our oceans and build the best possible case for a strong UN treaty. They will be conducting crucial ocean research and protection – exposing the threats, peacefully confronting the villains and championing the solutions.
Of course it will need political will from the Nations of the World to pass a UN Oceans Treaty. Just as we need political will in Scotland to really protect our inshore waters. You all need to play a part in persuasion! Click on the video below to see the award-winning Earthrise Aljazeera documentary produced after joining Greenpeace’s 2018 Antarctic ship tour. We all hope that an Antarctic sanctuary will be passed at the next meeting of the Antarctic Ocean Commission (CCAMLR) in October.
Click here to follow Esperanza, Netherlands, Fishery Protection Vessel:
Click here to see the potential course of Esperanza over the next year and the work it will be doing:
Sally Campbell, May 2019