UNITED NATIONS WORLD OCEANS DAY 2022
8 JUNE 2022
Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean
Let us celebrate our oceans. What an incredibly awe-inspiring event this was! If you didn't manage to catch the live-streamed event, you should still be able to watch it now at: https://unworldoceansday.org/un-world-oceans-day-2022/
The overall theme is to act collectively.
Here are some of my highlights from the event!
Sylvia Earle, President and Co-Chair Mission Blue, is a Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, and Explorer. Sylvia was the first female scientist to descend 100ft below the ocean's surface! She gave a profound talk about our relationship with the ocean. This event was the perfect opportunity to revitalise ourselves, in how we look at the ocean, and at nature. As she rightly side "the fish don't vote"!
Sylvia spoke of how lucky we are today to have such a wealth of knowledge. Because without knowing the problem, we can't find solutions. And what with so much innovation, we most definitely know a heck lot more now than we did back in the fifties. We need to 'Know', to 'Care', to Act'.
We focus too much on illegal acts of fishing in the world but what we need to crack down on, are the activities that are allowed within the current legal systems, as it is these mass activities that are damaging our ecosystems.
The event moved onto a section called Spotlights which showed how various diverse movements across the globe made for impactful change:
- Sheena Talma. Marine Biology Consultant, Neckton Science Program Manager. Sheena discussed where her love of the ocean started. She highlighted the importance of creating new memories for our survival, and our need for more accessible Deep Sea Research
- Editrudith Lukanga. Executive Director, Emedo. Editrudith is pushing for women's voices to be heard within the Fisheries, about how important it is for women to be heard in the discussion of legislative decisions. She talks of workshops she has implemented and recognises that these efforts need strong support from grassroots level. Community driven, from base to national level. Women play a central role in this collective revitalisation, across community leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers to ensure a fair and equitable sustainable fisheries sector.
- Kate Orff. Founding Principal, Scape. Landscape Architect, Urban Designer. Kate made a really strong and emotive point about our need to link the seascape and landscape. Many companies choose to build physical barriers to protect coastal erosion but what that results in, is a loss of biodiversity. Kate has been part of a project in New York, a coastal city, learning about Oysters and their importance as Urban infrastructure. A project since 2009 is now finally being built in New York, and within a couple of months since building began, there are already positive signs of wildlife taking hold.
- Martin Kramp. Ship Co-ordinator, WMO/OceanOPS. A scientist in observing the ocean, realises that different nations use different systems, means he has to work and seek the help of volunteers, sailors and ocean racers across the world. Recently working with:
- Lisa Blair. Sailor, Ocean Racer. Only just last week won a world record for First Solo Circumnavigation around Antartica. Sailing to remote regions, she recognises the importance of her work in helping collect data from these remote areas. On her recent trip around the Southern Ocean, she helped scientists by deploying a variety of instruments into the ocean to collect data, while also collecting samples of microplastics from the ocean. Her presence in the media can also help create attention and is pivotal to creating awareness for our environment.
- Shinobu Namae. Executive Chef, Relais & Châteaux L'Effervescence. Michelin starred chef Shinobu uses his culinary platform to promote sustainability. He speaks about seaweed, with its multiple uses and how climate change has changed the farming. He trained as a free diver to see for himself what is happening in the seas in Japan, and uses what he learns to teach and inspire others. Warmer waters in the last year meant that seaweed predators, i.e. sea urchins, were now active in the winter months which is a crucial time for specific seaweed to mature. This causes minimal harvests. Shinobu speaks with passion how the revitalisation of seaweed forests and global warming cannot be considered separately. Through cooking, he hopes to spark people's awareness and start discussions about its importance. Whilst also establishing local supply chains bringing people closer to the environment they live in.
- James Kairo. Chief Scientist, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. James stresses the importance about blue carbon, and how we must look at nature based solutions for blue carbon capture.
There are a lot of scientific facts with which these speakers reference to, but I've chosen to leave those parts out of the blog otherwise this would take days to read!
Ralph Chami. Assistant Director, The International Monetary Fund, Co-Founder of Rebalance Earth.
Ralph spoke about how we viewed the ocean. We need to see it as a 'living system' and realise its value. The current position we are in is that humanity is facing twin risks: Climate Change (Temperature) and Natural Capital (Biodiversity). Both are linked through our behaviour. Human activity brought on this calamity. We cannot fix one first then fix the other, we have to tackle these two risks together at the same time. By going through Mother Nature. Look after her like she has always done since time began.
There was some point in which we believed we lived outside of nature, but "Oceans are the lungs of the Planet" (UN).
Did you know:
- Phytoplankton float on top of the water on our oceans. They produce 50% O2 and capture 30% CO2
- Whales grab carbon on their bodies equivalent to 150 trees
- Saltmarshes, Seagrasses, Mangroves are all living systems grabbing carbon
We desperately need to re-evaluate our relationship with the ocean. The good news being that some countries are already recognising this. In Chile, Article 9 states that 'Nature has rights'. In New Zealand, Whanganui River and Forests are recognised as a legal entity, and 'indivisible and living whole' with legal personhood. (2012 UN Resolution by IUCN for the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature.)
We need legal framework to protect nature. Aligning markets to value this living system can move us from 'extraction of resources' to 'regeneration of marine life'.
Policies currently in development are:
- Investing in restoration and protection of ecosystems and coastal communities
- Avoiding and reducing plastic pollution - addressing the issue through the lifecycle of plastic
- Avoiding and reducing large scale emissions. The deployment of responsible offshore wind, and in decarbonised shipping
Four ways we can revitalise our oceans:
- Listen to indigenous knowledge. These communities have so much to teach us
- Re-think our relationship with the ocean
- Elevate diverse voices
- Restore the balance between land and the ocean
So much food for thought in this event. And so much hope. We still have time. We need to act.
Did you know that every year, at least 11 million tonnes of plastic are discarded into our seas? That's an equivalent of one garbage truck being dumped every minute![1.]
The Clean Seas campaign was launched in 2017, and has now 63 countries joined to commit to turning the tide on plastic waste. The campaign is the biggest and most powerful global coalition devoted to ending marine plastic pollution, transforming habits, practices, standards and policies across the globe, covering more than 60% of the world's coastline![2.]
"The ocean connects, sustains, and supports us all. Yet its health is at a tipping point and so is the well-being of all that depends on it. As the past years have shown us, we need to work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life."
You can watch the event at: https://unworldoceansday.org/un-world-oceans-day-2022/
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