Thank you for subscribing, Please scroll down to check out this month’s Navigator.
WELCOME TO THE NAVIGATOR!
The campaign to save Antarctica is in full swing, with celebrities, submersibles, environmentalists, penguins, and high-level influencers all working together to ensure this amazing part of the world is protected (read on to find out more).
Also, the very brave (and possibly a little bit crazy) Stephen Shanly just completed his 3000-mile solo row across the Atlantic, arriving safe and sound in Barbados. You can relive the roller-coaster ride on Instagram. Nail-biting stuff – especially when he lost his seat on the 7th day… A big thanks to Stephen for his generous donation supporting Big Change and Ocean Unite. Check out big fan Richard Branson’s blog to find out more.
SEEN FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE –
WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW?
Campaign to save Antarctica is hotting up
Since the disappointing news last year that no further marine protected areas (MPAs) were agreed at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), efforts to step up protection of Antarctica’s marine environment have been supercharged. It’s under threat from climate change and industrial fishing, and we need to act fast to save it. As part of the global push to strongly protect at least 30% of the Ocean by 2030 (which is what scientists are telling us is needed), the race to protect 7 million square kilometers of Ocean by 2020 has kicked off. Greenpeace has sent its ship, the Arctic Sunrise, down to the region to build the case for designating a huge Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary in the Weddell Sea.
With a crew of campaigners, scientists, photographers, film-makers, journalists, and some state-of-the-art submersibles with actor Javier Bardem inside, Greenpeace managed to sample and document amazing Ocean life found deep down in these freezing waters. This documentation will hopefully provide all the further evidence needed to secure strong protections of the region.
More celebrity attention for Antarctica with big names – such as Helen Mirren and Judi Dench – urging its protection. David Harbour – star of the hit series Stranger Things – managed to hitch a ride to the Antarctic by rising to Greenpeace’s challenge to get over 200,000 retweets in 5 hours. He has fulfilled his dream of showing penguins his nifty dance moves… Check out Greenpeace’s site to find out more about the campaign and take action.
Back on land, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Ocean Unite held an expert discussion on Antarctica 2020, a movement to secure the designation of an area of Ocean roughly the size of Australia – by 2020. Ocean Unite Network members Lewis Pugh, an extreme swimmer/Speedo diplomat, Slava Fetisov, a champion ice-hockey-player-turned-politician, and Costa Rica’s former president Jose María Figueres, discussed the international efforts that led to the establishment of the Ross Sea MPA, as well as the need to establish a network of MPAs around the continent by 2020. This collaboration with partners around the world, including the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, will help build momentum for reaching the 2020 goal. Join the conversation by following #Antarctica2020 on Twitter and read Ocean Unite’s blog to find out more.
Efforts to show some love to world’s reefs take off
Valentine’s Day saw the launch of the International Year of the Reef at an event in London organized by HRH The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit and attended by UN Environment, The Ocean Agency, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and many others. The past 3 years have seen the longest and most expansive die-offs of corals ever recorded. Urgent and concerted action is desperately needed. The IYOR 2018 campaign has been designed by a top creative team in Hollywood. Their gorgeous posters are now available to download and share as part of a new free-to-use library of media-quality imagery to try to get the word out that we need marine reserves and carbon emissions reductions if the world’s coral reefs are to regenerate and be restored.
World Ocean Summit and Asamblea del Océano Pacifico
Keep a look out for Ocean announcements coming out of the 5th The Economist World Ocean Summit happening in Mexico from 7–9th March. Could some large MPAs in Brazilian waters be in the running? This year the Summit will focus on financing and accountability for implementing all the many voluntary commitments that have been announced to implement the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal – SDG 14.
As several high-level leaders from Latin America will be in town for the Summit, they’ve taken the opportunity to meet on the 7th March at the Asamblea del Océano Pacifico.
The idea is to showcase Latin America’s achievements and vision on Ocean conservation and to raise the bar even higher. The Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Rafael Pacchiano, Marcelo Mena, the Chilean Minister for the Environment, and Ocean Unite Network founder, José María Figueres, will co-chair this event, which is supported by The Economist, Ocean Unite, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Latin America has made leaps and bounds in Ocean protection over the past few years and has become a powerful voice for the Ocean in global political fora. But there is always more that can be done. It’s hoped this meeting will fortify even further the Latin American governments’ commitments to Ocean protection and inspire others to step up to the challenge of securing a healthy Ocean future.
OCEAN SIGNALS– SHORT OCEAN ANNOUNCEMENTS
WAVES ON THE HORIZON –
WHAT'S COMING UP?
“Paris Agreement for shipping” up for discussion
In April, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN body tasked with regulating global shipping, will meet to agree a greenhouse gas reduction plan for the sector. International shipping carries around 90% of world trade and is the 6th largest greenhouse gas emitter worldwide. More than 20 years ago the Kyoto Protocol, and more recently the Paris Agreement, tasked the IMO with ambitious climate action on shipping. However, aided by the corporate capture of the IMO process, the shipping sector has dragged its heels and dodged responsibility in taking practical climate action.
Hopefully this is all about to change. Momentum has been building: following a meeting organized by French President Emmanuel Macron in December 2017, 36 countries and still counting have signed the Tony de Brum Declaration (dedicated to the late, great climate warrior and Ocean Unite Network member who passed away last year) that calls for urgent action at the IMO on shipping emissions. Campaigners are calling for a strong agreement that sees a 70–100% reduction on 2008 levels by 2050, or else risk seriously undermining the Paris Agreement. Pacific Island countries, a number of EU states and even shipping giants such as Maersk are leading the charge for this highly ambitious agreement, but some countries are reluctant due to concerns about increased costs. To find out more about what is happening check out these great overviews by CarbonBrief and the OECD.
Discussions will also focus on the risks of using highly polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic. An IMO meeting just a couple of weeks ago agreed to ban the carriage of shipping fuel with a sulphur content above 0.5% by 2020. This is a step in the right direction to ensure the global shipping industry switches from the use of oils such as HFO to lighter alternatives, BUT it doesn’t ban HFO completely. Following MEPC71, where member states agreed to move forward on mitigating the effects of HFO on the Arctic, the Clean Arctic Coalition is now calling on the IMO to simply ban its use and carriage as fuel in the Arctic – this is the easiest and quickest route available for dealing with the risks associated with HFO.
This position is supported by cruise ship operator Hurtigruten, IKEA and the European Parliament, and more than 80 signatories of the Arctic Commitment. We need action NOW, especially following the news that the first commercial tanker was able to navigate the Arctic sea route in winter.
We need to urge more governments to sign the Tony de Brum Declaration. Governments have only until the 9th March to get on board. Get them to visit www.mepc72.org and let’s all get the word out for an ambitious climate deal on shipping and the need to get dirty fuel out of the Arctic at the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in April @IMOclimate , #IMO, #cleanupshipping, #MEPC, @HFOFreeArctic.
Ocean Risk Summit
Rising sea levels, warming waters, increased occurence of hurricanes, acidifying waters, coral reef bleachings, storm surges, flooding… the list of hazardous Ocean changes goes on and on. The succession of hurricanes that battered the Caribbean and the US in 2017 made us all too aware of the huge impact and devastation (physically and economically) a climate-changing world can have. The risks are just too great to be ignored. For this reason, leaders from across the political, economic, environmental and risk sectors will gather from 8–10th May in Bermuda for the first ever Ocean Risk Summit.
The event is being driven by global insurance giant XL Catlin, which is also its lead sponsor, and supported by partners IUCN, Ocean Unite (yes – that’s us!), the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, and Aurum Investments. It aims to increase understanding of what Ocean risk is and to discuss ways governments and the business sector can prepare to tackle its consequences and what can be done to build resilience and reduce this risk. To register for the summit or to learn more, visit the website here.
June is Ocean month – save the dates: 5th, 8th and 9th
5th June 2018 will be the first ever, newly adopted UN international day for the fight against IUU fishing. The hope is to raise further awareness of this global scourge that is costing over US$23 billion in losses per year. World Oceans Day on the 8th June 2018 is on track to be the biggest yet with many exciting celebrations already planned around that date. This year’s theme is encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter. The World Oceans Day website has new, free resources to help you plan and promote a successful and meaningful Ocean celebration.
Register your event to promote it on the event map, sign up to receive the latest news and updates or contact the organizers directly. Also 10 new members have joined the WOD Youth Advisory Council to help provide new and unique perspectives, ideas, and recommendations.
One of the key events being planned around World Oceans Day is the March for the Ocean (M4O) in Washington DC on Saturday 9th June, with lots of simultaneous events held across the US. There’s real momentum behind the event, with more than 70 partner organisations. Everyone is also encouraged to “Wear Blue for the Ocean” on the 9th June. Click here for the toolkit and learn more by following M4O on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. #MarchForOcean #M4O #OceansAreRising #SoAreWe.
If marching hasn’t left you breathless, you can also break into a run for the Oceans with Adidas, Runtastic and Parley. © image courtesy of Brian Skerry
A LOOK BACK AT WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING
The Ocean comes to the Swiss Alps
Every year the rich and powerful descend on the Swiss ski resort of Davos for a few days to discuss the most pressing global affairs at the World Economic Forum. Climate change was at the top of the environmental agenda again this year, but the Ocean also had a good look-in. Firstly, an ambitious new global partnership called Friends of Ocean Action was announced by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, and Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden. The partnership will be made up of about 40 leaders from science, technology, business and NGOs who will use their influence to ensure we meet SDG 14.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also launched plans for a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy to be made up of heads of state and government from a wide range of countries. It will continue until the next The Ocean Conference in 2020 and a key deliverable will be a report on the importance of the Ocean economy for sustainable development.
Also, innovation was front and centre at the meeting with the announcement of the 5 winners of the New Plastics Economy initiative the Circular Materials Challenge, which focuses on coming up with sustainable alternatives to small packaging that’s too small or tricky to recycle. The prize money of US$1 million will help the winners take these solutions to market.
So much has been happening recently on plastics, we thought it’d be good to give a quick summary of some of the key developments. Firstly, the scientific evidence is mounting on the extent of our planet’s plastic nightmare with a report highlighting the surprisingly high volume of microplastics found in an extremely remote area of the South Indian Ocean. Another showed the destructive impact that billions of pieces of plastic are having on coral reefs. And another report outlined the devastating impact microplastics are having on sharks and whales.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to use his year-long G7 presidency to increase the global spotlight on Ocean plastics and pollution and to get fellow G7 nations to sign a “no plastics pledge”. The Bahamas committed to ban plastic bags, thanks to a youth delegation from Bahamas Plastic Movement. Taiwan has proposed its plan to ban single-use plastics, such as straws and plastic bags by 2030. The European Commission committed to drastically reduce plastic pollution from its ships and fishing boats.
In the UK, supermarket chain Iceland has agreed to eliminate plastic on all its own-brand products by 2023. The current plastic packaging would be replaced with paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities. The BBC has aimed to be free of single-use plastics by 2020. Airline company Ryanair has pledged for all its flights to be plastic free by 2023. British MPs have also pledged to cut their use of single-use plastics after it emerged that more than one million cups were used in Parliament per year…! And even the British Queen has stepped up to the plastic challenge by banning straws and plastic bottles on the Royal estates.