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Updated: 57 min 16 sec ago

What if we treated our oceans like they matter?

Fri, 2019-04-12 10:41

The seas provide half of our oxygen, and food for a billion people. Let’s give them the protection they deserve.

Under the restless surface of our seas, hundreds of miles from land, there’s a world of giants and hunters; ancient lifeforms and lost cities.

These waters beyond national borders are home to creatures even more varied than in the tropical rainforests. They contain the highest and longest mountain range anywhere on our planet, and trenches deep enough to hold Mount Everest. They’re the highways for whales, turtles, albatross and tuna on their cross-planet migrations.

Protecting these natural wonders is simply the right thing to do. But this isn’t just about conscience. It’s about survival.

The oceans produce half of our oxygen and food for a billion people. And because they soak up huge amounts of carbon dioxide, they’re also one of our best defences against climate change. Our fate is bound to the fate of our oceans. If they don’t make it, we don’t either.

Loggerhead turtle swimming around a fish aggregation device belonging to the Ecuadorean purse seiner ‘Ingalapagos’, in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands. © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace A rescue plan for our oceans

Now though, there’s a ray of hope. Scientists have drawn up a rescue plan for our oceans – and we’re going to throw everything we’ve got at making it happen.
Are you in?

The ocean rescue plan is bold and brilliantly simple: we cover the planet in ocean sanctuaries, putting a third of the oceans off-limits to fishing, mining and other destructive industries.

If the rescue plan goes ahead, it’ll be one of the biggest conservation efforts in human history, creating millions of square kilometres of new protected areas.

Here’s the problem: at the moment, there’s no way to create new sanctuaries outside countries’ national waters. We can’t protect these huge areas of the ocean without an international agreement on how this protection would work.

Governments have started work on a UN Ocean Treaty and if they get it right it’ll give us the tools we need to make these sanctuaries happen.

Krill fishing vessel in the Antarctic © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace Join us on an epic voyage

The open oceans are some of the least studied – and least regulated – places on Earth, and to properly protect them we need to know more about what’s happening out there.

So this week, a team of scientists, photographers and campaigners is setting out on an 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.

Sailing on Greenpeace’s swiftest and largest ship, the Esperanza, they’ll be conducting crucial ocean research and protection – exposing the threats, peacefully confronting the villains and championing the solutions.

The team at sea needs as many people as possible on land to make sure their findings can’t be ignored. Will you join the campaign?

Walruses on ice floe at Kvitøya in Svalbard © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace Ocean sanctuaries work

All over the world, wherever a proper ocean sanctuary is created, the results are dramatic. Habitats recover. The fish come back. Life finds a way.

But because sanctuaries work so well, the people who profit from dumping and plundering our seas are working hard to water down the treaty. It’s up to us to make sure nature and ordinary people have a voice in this too.

When we work together we can change the world. From stopping Shell’s oil drilling in the Arctic, to getting the world’s largest tuna company to clean up its act for people and the planet, we know how to stand up for our seas – and win.

But now it’s time to go even bigger. Over the next year, this mission will need all the courage, cunning and creativity we can find. But today, it just needs your name.

Sign the petition to get started.

The post What if we treated our oceans like they matter? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Do ocean sanctuaries really work?

Wed, 2019-04-10 07:06

Our oceans are massive and unlike most places on land, they don’t really have borders. Animals, water (and sadly now plastic) all move freely across our global oceans.

Because of this, some people have asked if ocean sanctuaries are an effective way of protecting our shared waters.  

Well, the short answer is yes! But if you want more evidence than that, here are four ocean sanctuaries from across the world that have made a huge difference.

1 – Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay is an enormous conservation success story. Fishing and hunting in these coastal waters drove some of its wildlife to the very brink of extinction. But, since the National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1992, the seas – and their wildlife – have bounced back in a phenomenal way. Now they are home to playful sea lions, majestic pelicans, and cute sea otters, all thriving on the rich waters full of underwater kelp forests.

Monterey Bay is also a global hotspot for whale-watching, as its food-laden waters attract migrating whales all year round, from splashy crowd-pleasing humpbacks, to the biggest of them all, the gigantic blue whale. Ecotourism and wildlife watching has given a new reason to protect this special place.

2 – Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument, Hawaii

Covering over 1.5 million square kilometres this massive ocean sanctuary in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was created by President George W Bush in 2006, and extended further by his successor Barack Obama – a fantastic display of leadership in ocean protection from both leaders.

At the time this was the largest marine protected area in the world and it is home to over 7,000 marine species – one in four of which are unique to the Hawaiian archipelago. This sanctuary gives refuge and protection to green sea turtles, the world’s most endangered duck, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, millions of seabirds, coral reefs as well as significant native Hawaiian cultural sites.

Included in this sanctuary is the famous remote coral island of Midway Atoll, a vital nesting site for thousands of ocean-wandering albatrosses.

3 – Lamlash Bay, Arran, Scotland

Good things come in small packages – in this case one square mile of protection. Lamlash Bay might not be world-famous yet, but its protected area, or ‘No Take Zone’, was hard-fought-for and won by years of community campaigning.

The islanders of Arran lobbied politicians tirelessly, undertook scientific studies, chatted to visiting tourists, and fought against vested interests to get the protected area created in beautiful Lamlash Bay. The rich sheltered waters in the bay are home to a wide variety of delicate seafloor plants and animals, which depend on beds of ‘maerl’, an odd type of hard seaweed that grows in the bay. The Islanders knew it was crucial to stop the area being dredged by heavy fishing gear to protect these maerl beds and the wildlife like octopus, scallops and fish that live amongst it.

Today the impacts of the Arran community are being felt farther away as their example of grass-roots campaigning serves as a lesson for politicians and other communities too.

4 – Ross Sea, Southern Ocean A group of Adélie Penguins are seen here on the Antarctic sea ice.

Part of the Antarctic Ocean, the Ross Sea is home to orcas, penguins and seals. In 2017 this area finally became a protected sanctuary, giving some of the Antarctic’s wildlife a safe haven to feed, breed and thrive.

What if we did this everywhere?

These sanctuary success stories are a great reminder of what’s possible, but apart from the Ross Sea, they’re all in within countries’ national waters. Meanwhile, most of the oceans beyond national boundaries are still unprotected. But now we have the opportunity to do so much more.

Scientists have drawn up a bold rescue plan for our oceans – and it’s brilliantly simple: we cover the planet in ocean sanctuaries, putting a third of the seas off-limits to fishing, mining, drilling and other destructive industries.

If the plan goes ahead, it’ll be one of the biggest conservation efforts in human history, creating millions of square kilometres of new protected areas.

Governments have started work on a Global Ocean Treaty at the UN, and if they get it right it’ll give us the legal tools we need to start creating these new ocean sanctuaries.

So this year, we’re going all-out to make sure that happens. Through the new Protect the Oceans campaign, people all over the world will be pushing for a strong Global Ocean Treaty.

Want to join the campaign? Sign the petition to get started.

The post Do ocean sanctuaries really work? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Watch – Polly Ethelene defends Sainsbury’s stance on plastic

Thu, 2019-04-04 14:55

It’s not always great to get a 10. That’s where Sainsbury’s ranked against its nine competitors when we published our league table of UK supermarkets’ plastic policies last year. On top of this last-place scoring, we just revealed that Sainsbury’s is still worst in class on measures to reduce plastic packaging when we compared supermarkets’ public pledges made since the launch of our campaign.

Sound like a PR headache?

Enter Polly Ethelene, our imagined Head of PR at Sainsbury’s. Listen as Polly does her best to stand up for the glistening aisles of plastic with a line of defence that includes, “if we didn’t have plastic, what would we wrap things like bananas in?” Food for thought.

With nearly a million of us calling on supermarkets to ditch single-use plastic packaging, customers leaving behind unwanted plastic at the till, shoppers calling out #pointlessplastic online and many taking the time to write to the company, Sainsbury’s have huge public support to take bold action on plastic.

So we’re calling on them to set ambitious plastic packaging reduction targets, starting with eliminating unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic by 2020. If they do, they’ll be greeted with a sea of smiles.

Because recycling alone is not going to fix the ocean plastic crisis; we need companies like Sainbury’s that sell and market plastic to produce far less in the first place. Watch and share our parody of a badly executed PR film, as Polly Ethelene presents us with the alternative to tackling plastic pollution at source: “the ocean offers us a perfect storage solution.” Sainsbury’s, it seems you #couldntcareless. Time to prove us wrong.

If you enjoyed the video and would like to share it on social media, email or whatsapp please hit this link!  

The post Watch – Polly Ethelene defends Sainsbury’s stance on plastic appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

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