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

 

Greenpeace opens African Office

Feature story | November 17, 2008 at 0:00

Greenpeace Africa has opened its first office in Johannesburg, announcing a long-term commitment to building a strong presence in Africa dedicated to tackling the most urgent environmental problems facing the continent - climate change,...

Japan slashes whale quotas

Feature story | November 13, 2008 at 0:00

Good news for the whales comes in threes. And then you get a dollop of extra. Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan's biggest newspapers, reports there will be a 20 percent reduction in the number of whales targeted in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary...

Japan's whaling programme in disarray

Feature story | November 12, 2008 at 19:58

As the whaling fleet prepares to depart Japan, evidence is mounting of an industry in crisis, as new revelations of financial and image problems add to the woes of the scandal-plagued industry.

Challenge to Japan to prosecute anti- whaling activists worldwide

Feature story | November 4, 2008 at 2:21

Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, the Japanese government continues to send a fleet of ships to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to kill over a thousand whales. Each season, the fleet departs for the Sanctuary and more whales...

Japanese whaling ship outlawed

Feature story | October 30, 2008 at 21:23

Yet another nail has been put in the coffin of Japan's dying whaling industry. We've managed to get the Oriental Bluebird, re-supply and transport ship of Japan’s whaling fleet, de-flagged and fined, following a legal ruling by Panamanian...

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