ACTION ALERT: Help Create the Largest Protected Area on Earth: The Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary
January 16, 2018
On December 1, 2017, the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area -- a land sanctuary covering 1.5 million square kilometers -- came into force. Now the Antarctic Ocean needs protection. Greenpeace writes: "We are calling for the creation of the biggest ocean sanctuary in the world, to protect the fragile and amazing wildlife in the Weddell Sea, like the irreplaceable penguins, whales and seals that call it home. But we simply can't do it without your help. And we want you to come along for the journey!"
ACTION ALERT: Help Create the Largest
Protected Area on Earth: The Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary
Greenpeace Aotearoa, New Zealand
(January 15, 2018) -- Sitting on the bottom of our big blue planet is a thriving ocean where whales, seals and penguins live and raise their young: the Antarctic Ocean. But a warming climate and ever-expanding industrial fishing industry are threatening this undisturbed area and its iconic creatures.
The good news is: together we can protect it. This year brings an historic opportunity to create the world's largest protected area -- a massive Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. In October, the Antarctic Ocean Commission will meet to decide on whether or not to support this historic proposal. And our Government will be there.
Sign the petition and ask them to take action before it's too late.
We need to build a rock solid case for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. That's why right now Greenpeace's ship -- the Arctic Sunrise -- is journeying to the Antarctic to research and showcase the beauty and fragility of this precious ecosystem.
From exploring previously unseen parts of the seabed, to documenting the impact of climate change and the fishing industry on penguin colonies, this promises to be a journey like no other, because the Antarctic is a place like no other. But it needs protecting.
When governments and environmental protectors, like you, work together they can achieve incredible things. Together we created the Ross Sea Sanctuary. It was a triumph for Antarctic Ocean protection. But experts say we should designate at least one-third of our oceans as highly protected to support sustainable and healthy oceans.
If we're going to avoid the worst effects of climate change and protect the iconic wildlife of this region we need to safeguard more than 30% of our oceans and this is a fantastic place to start. Imagine what we can achieve if people from across the world empower our leaders to be bold and champion the biggest sanctuary on Earth.
Urge them to join other governments and protect the Antarctic.
Please urge our Government to be brave, show leadership, and make history. SIGN THE PETITION
For the oceans,
Nick, and the whole crew at Greenpeace
Greenpeace Aotearoa, New Zealand.
11 Akiraho Street, Mount Eden, Auckland , New Zealand
0800 22 33 44 | firstname.lastname@example.org
We Protected the Land, Now
We Must Protect the Ocean -- Antarctica
Willie Mackenzie / Greenpeace
(December 1, 2017) -- The Antarctic is at the very end of the earth. It's so far away from most of us that it often falls off the edge of world maps as an unfinished afterthought. The landmass of Antarctica holds 90% of the freshwater on the planet, is the biggest desert in the world, and is the only continent with no native human population. The encircling Antarctic Ocean not only provides life and living space for amazing, unique and iconic wildlife, but it also influences other oceans and wildlife thousands and thousands of miles away.
December 1st was World Antarctica Day – a day to celebrate the continent that belongs to all of us and none of us. World Antarctica Day recognises the Antarctic Treaty which brought together global governments interested in the Antarctic. The treaty covers all of the land and ice sheets south of 60°S latitude, and was agreed on 1st December 1959 to put Antarctica off-limits to military activity, and instead set it aside as a place for peace and scientific exploration.
However, the Antarctic Treaty simply didn't go far enough in terms of protecting the continent from oil and gas drilling or other mineral exploration – which is where Greenpeace comes in. In 1985, after several years of planning we began a massive campaign to create a 'World Park Antarctica'. Using a combination of direct actions, solid science and political pressure, we even established our own science base in Antarctica in 1987.
Success eventually came in 1991 when nations agreed an environmental protocol protecting Antarctica, and Greenpeace's Antarctic base was closed down and removed without trace the same year.
Since then the continent of Antarctica has been protected from exploitation. But sadly the same cannot be said of its life-giving ocean.
Everything in the Antarctic depends directly on the ocean. It provides food, living space, and life itself, yet the creatures that live there have faced a barrage of human threats over the centuries. Massive industrial-scale factory whaling was of course one of the darkest chapters, and it wasn't until the global ban on commercial whaling, which Greenpeace was integral in achieving in 1982, that the wholesale destruction of these gentle giants that migrate to feed in Antarctic waters every year was tackled. The fight to protect the world's whales goes on, in tackling climate change, fisheries bycatch, pollution, so called 'scientific whaling', and noise disruption.
Fishing takes its toll too, using methods like longlining that catch and kill seabirds and seals, and now the large-scale factory fishing of Antarctic krill, the very basis of the whole region's food web. Plastic pollution is increasingly reaching every part of our oceans and on top of that, the Antarctic Ocean is at the forefront of the first and worst impacts of climate change.
It just makes sense that this essential ocean, home to global populations of iconic animals, deserves protection too. Antarctica is nothing without its ocean.
On the 1st December 2017, the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area came into force. This sanctuary, covering 1.5 million square kilometres was eventually agreed last year by the Antarctic Ocean Commission. It's fantastic news for penguins, whales, seals and all of us -- but also a reminder that we need to move much faster to protect these precious creatures and their homes. We urgently need to protect more of our oceans, and it's not even a funny pun to say that progress until now has been glacially slow.
That's why in 2018 Greenpeace will be returning to Antarctica, more than 25 years after we dismantled our Antarctic base. We are sending our ship, the Arctic Sunrise, south on a voyage of discovery to the very end of the earth.
We are calling for the creation of the biggest ocean sanctuary in the world, to protect the fragile and amazing wildlife in the Weddell Sea, like the irreplaceable penguins, whales and seals that call it home.
But we simply can't do it without your help. And we want you to come along for the journey!
ACTION: You can add your voice here.
VICTORY! Massive New Ocean Sanctuary Established off Antarctica!
Willie Mackenzie / Greenpeace
(October 27, 2016) -- Today, the largest marine protected area in the world was created in the Ross Sea, off the coast of Antarctica. This is a HUGE victory for the whales, penguins, and toothfish that live there and for the millions of people standing up to protect our oceans.
For years, Greenpeace has campaigned for protection of the Ross Sea at CCAMLR, the international body responsible for stewardship of Antarctic waters.
Each year, Greenpeace, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, and millions of people around the world would call on governments to do the right thing, each time thinking THIS was the year it would finally happen.
But year after year, there was always something blocking progress. But this year, all of CCAMLR's members finally agreed -- it's time to make the Ross Sea a protected sanctuary!
The Ross Sea sanctuary becomes the biggest marine protected area in the world, covering 1,550,000km2 (which is roughly the size of three Texases, two Spains, or one Mongolia), almost three quarters of which will be a fully-protected.
Known as 'the Last Ocean', the Ross Sea has been identified by scientists as the most pristine shallow ocean left on earth. It's stunning, but we were starting to wonder if it would ever be protected . . . .
To finally get agreement to protect the Ross Sea a time clause of 35 years was included, which means that in 35 years CCAMLR members will again need to decide on its future.
Marine protection, to be truly effective, needs to be long lasting so we have all those years ahead of us to make sure when the Ross Sea sanctuary is up for renewal, there is no resistance to making it permanent. We're pretty confident that by 2051 it will be a simple decision!
A HUGE Year for Ocean Protection
The Ross Sea win comes on the heels of President Obama's decision to expand the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument, making it -- until now -- the world's largest marine protected area. Just days before that, Obama also made history by establishing the first National Marine Monument in the Atlantic, protecting canyons and seamounts.
Other nations have been stepping up too on protecting their national waters – such as Chile's creation of a massive marine park around Easter Island, and the UK's commitment to create protected 'Blue Belts' around its overseas territories.
As big as these new sanctuaries are, the ocean is bigger still. Despite a pledge at the World Conservation Congress this summer to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030, we have a long way to go to meet that target -- and Greenpeace is pushing for more, with a goal of setting aside 40% of our world's oceans as fully-protected sanctuaries.
The science is clear that ocean sanctuaries are vital to protecting biodiversity, rebuilding fish populations, and increasing resilience to climate change. Unfortunately, long battles like the one that led to this victory for the Ross Sea need more than just good science -- they need millions of people speaking up for our oceans.
Without your voices, the best scientific case in the world is not enough to stand up against the short-term interests of the powerful commercial fishing lobby.
The tide seems to be turning on marine conservation, but as the long battle to win protection for the Ross Sea shows, getting action in shared seas, beyond national jurisdiction is a massive challenge. That's why we need to do more to protect the so-called High Seas, which at the moment not only have no protection, they don't even have an agreed system that could protect them.
But we are getting there! Greenpeace is working tirelessly to ensure that United Nations delivers sanctuaries on the high seas, as well as campaigning and mobilising to protect some of our most precious shared seas like the Arctic. With your help, we want to do even more.
Thank you all for your part in this victory! Together, we can keep the momentum building and ensure that we'll have healthy oceans long into the future. Let's make this the decade of ocean protection!
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