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


The Tokyo Two

Blog entry by Phil | February 19, 2009

It was indeed a black Friday last week. Two Greenpeace activists Junichi and Toru appeared in court for a pre trial hearing. They face the possibility of prison for their role in defending the whales – for exposing illegal whale meat...

Justice for whales and Greenpeace

Feature story | February 19, 2009 at 0:00

An ancient Japanese legend says that anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes will have their heart's desire come true. On 16 February, 1000 paper whales were delivered to the Japanese embassy in Stockholm with a message "Free Junichi and Toru".From...

Edamame is like Greenpeace only more tasty

Blog entry by Nick | February 11, 2009

Sake Barrel Smashing in Aomori We recently opened a new Communications Centre in the northern fishing district of Aomori, Japan. As we mark 20 years of non-violent environmental campaigning in Japan this year, we're bringing our...

Google ocean

Blog entry by Nick | February 5, 2009

A few days ago a new version of Google Earth was launched including the two thirds of the planet that was previously unmapped - our oceans! After renowned marine scientist Sylvia Earle noticed the serious lack of aquatic information...

Iceland: Killing whales makes no economic sense

Feature story | February 4, 2009 at 1:19

Killing whales to save the economy? It sounds like a terrible idea. Last week, the Icelandic government resigned, following widespread protests over its handling of the financial crisis. On his way out the door, outgoing Fisheries Minister Einar...

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