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


Save whales, not whaling

Feature story | April 26, 2010 at 0:00

A proposal to keep the dying whaling industries on life support has just been unveiled by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) -- instead of a concrete plan to safeguard whales.

Letter to John

Blog entry by Phil | April 15, 2010

Dear John How we hate to write so we’re coming to visit. Around the country people are signing petitions and sending you mail calling on your Government to vote against any proposal which legitimises commercial whaling and allows...

NZ deals a double blow to bluefin tuna

Feature story | April 15, 2010 at 5:25

The National-led Government has made some oceans-related calls lately that have left Kiwis wondering what’s happened to our conservation ethic.

Whale meat blockade

Feature story | April 6, 2010 at 0:10

At around 4:30 this morning, our activists took action against commercial whaling and trade in whale meat by blocking a container ship with fin whale meat onboard bound for Japan from Iceland. (Live updates.)

VIDEO: Whales campaign update

Blog entry by nick | March 26, 2010

Greenpeace NZ oceans campaigner Karli Thomas sums up the state of the whales campaign.

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