As we step into the United Nations Ocean Decade and we are now left with only 10 years to reverse the damage humans have inflicted on our blue planet. Alongside the destruction caused by deep-sea mining, unsustainable fishing and pollution; climate change is causing ocean temperatures and acidity levels to rise dramatically. The ocean is on fire.
But the ocean also has a crucial role to play in tackling the climate crisis. From seagrass meadows and kelp forests that lock carbon deep below the sea floor to ocean currents that regulating global temperatures, the ocean can provide vital solutions. We need governments around the world to recognise the ocean’s pivotal role in the climate crisis.
So today, we have launched the Ocean and Climate Petition. We are calling on the UK Government to ensure the ocean is at the centre of climate conversations at the 26th UN Climate Conference (COP26) in November; and we need you to join the call for action.
Our newly-released Ocean and Climate Report highlights that the extent of the ocean and climate crisis has not gone unnoticed by you, the British public. Our recent Ocean and Climate Survey revealed, that you do not think enough is being done to tackle the climate crisis, as 99% of respondents agreed more action needs to be taken and 96% believe the government must take-action urgently. Now is the time to make your voice heard!
The petition aims to highlight the importance of a thriving ocean, for the people and planet, and calls on the government to utilise the ocean’s capacity as a solution to the climate crisis, through increased investment in ocean rewilding and implementation of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). Targeted at the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, we aim to influence the direction of the COP26 talks by generating 80,000 signatures, from the general public and school pupils. Find out more about the petition here.
The global economic breakdown, caused by COVID-19, has provided governments with a unique opportunity to rebuild the economy with the environment and people at the forefront of its plans. As the Hosts of COP26, the spotlight will focus on the UK government to become climate leaders and showcase their commitment to restoring our blue planet.
As much as we depend on all blue spaces for our survival, including our mental and physical wellbeing, the ocean now depends on us; and we must come together to shout for the ocean, before it is too late.
Hugo Tagholm, CEO, Surfers Against Sewage:
“Ocean ecosystems are not only on the front line of the accelerating impacts of climate change but also can become the front line of slowing and reversing runaway global heating. The ocean is the thermostat of the global climate system and must be urgently prioritised for action, as world leaders meet for COP26.
The ocean provides us with a unique opportunity to remove human pressures and let nature do the heavy-lifting to combat climate change. Carbon-absorbing ecosystems can re-establish themselves to allow biodiversity to flourish and draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Business as usual has failed both people and planet, and we’re now in a race against time to restore a thriving ocean, the life-support system we all depend on.
We are in an Ocean and Climate Emergency and we call on politicians to move from rhetoric to action, from statements to solutions. We don’t have any time left to waste.”