Defending our oceans

Seen from space the Earth is covered in a blue mantle. It is a planet on which the continents are dwarfed by the oceans surrounding them and the immensity of the marine realm. It could be called Planet Ocean.

A staggering 80 percent of all the life on Earth is to be found hidden beneath the waves and this vast global ocean pulses around our world driving the natural forces which maintain life on our planet.

The oceans provide vital sources of protein, energy, minerals and other products of use the world over and the rolling of the sea across the planet creates over half our oxygen, drives weather systems and natural flows of energy and nutrients around the world, transports water masses many times greater than all the rivers on land combined and keeps the Earth habitable.

Without the global ocean there would be no life on Earth.

It is gravely worrying, then, that we are damaging the oceans on a scale that is unimaginable to most people.

We now know that human activity can have serious impacts on the vital forces governing our planet.  We have fundamentally changed our global climate and are just beginning to understand the consequences of that.

As yet largely unseen, but just as serious, are the impacts we are having on the oceans.

A healthy ocean has diverse ecosystems and robust habitats.  The actual state of our oceans is a far cry from this natural norm.

A myriad of human pressures are being exerted both directly and indirectly on ocean ecosystems the world over. Consequently ecosystems are collapsing as marine species are driven towards extinction and ocean habitats are destroyed.  Degraded and stripped of their diversity, ocean ecosystems are losing their inherent resilience.

We need to defend our oceans because without them, life on Earth cannot exist.

Dead oceans, dead planet

We need to defend them now more than ever, because the oceans need all the resilience they can muster in the face of climate change and the potentially disasterous impacts this is already beginning to produce in the marine world.

The Greenpeace Defending our Oceans campaign sets out to protect and preserve our oceans now and for the future by setting aside swathes of the global oceans from exploitation and controllable human pressure, allowing these areas the respite they so desperately need for recovery and renewal.

Building on a protection and recovery system established to manage land based over-exploitation, Marine Reserves are the ocean equivalent of national parks.

Marine Reserves are a scientifically developed and endorsed approach to redressing the crisis in our oceans which work alongside a range of other measures designed to ensure that the demands we make of our oceans are managed sustainably.

Beyond Marine Reserves we need to tackle a great many threats to the oceans' viability and find better ways of managing their resources.  To this end, while Greenpeace campaigns for Marine Reserves, we also campaign against the acts which have brought the oceans to this point - we expose the countless pressures, reveal the threats, confront the villains and point to the solutions and measures necessary to create sustainable oceans.

The latest updates


A coral reef destroyed for a military base? No way!

Blog entry by Kazue Komatsubara | November 11, 2015

Two military airstrips are no mean feat to build. They are massive pieces of military infrastructure, from which expensive, machines take off at great, deafening, speed. And that's exactly what's about to happen on the island of...

Supply Chained: Human rights abuse in the global tuna industry

Blog entry by Tara Buakamsri | November 5, 2015

If you are a tuna lover, chances are good that someone who was forced to work for meagre pay — perhaps even under threat of violence — is behind your tuna curry or teriyaki. Human rights abuses in the tuna industry are serious and...

Saving the last Japanese dugongs

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | November 2, 2015

The home of the last few Japanese dugongs is about to be landfilled to make way for two airstrips - part of the expansion of a US military base on the island of Okinawa. But a movement nearly 18 years old is standing up to say NO.

Three ways people power is changing in the tuna industry for good

Blog entry by Graham Forbes | October 23, 2015

The tuna industry is out of control . It is emptying the oceans of fish, killing other marine creatures like sharks and sea turtles — even abusing workers, who spend months or years at sea for meager pay. For years, tuna...

Why changing the tuna industry means stopping labour abuse

Blog entry by Jackie Dragon | October 21, 2015

The same unbridled economic interests that are driving destruction in our oceans are also allowing horrific labour practices and human rights abuses of workers in the seafood industry. This week, powerful allies joined forces...

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