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

 

Japan, whaling and the Esperanza

Feature story | April 3, 2007 at 0:00

It is cherry blossom season here in Japan, and Tokyo is beautiful, with lovely spring weather and trees in full bloom. Unfortunately while people here enjoy the season, our ship the Esperanza is at sea in force 8 conditions as organisations...

Whalers' factory ship arrives in Tokyo

Feature story | March 25, 2007 at 0:00

The Nisshin Maru arrived in Tokyo Bay today. Its time in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was cut short by a tragic fire, which claimed the life of one crew member and threatened the Antarctic environment. Over the course of this past season...

Whaling season over

Feature story | February 28, 2007 at 23:14

Today the whaling fleet crossed the 60 degree latitude, leaving the whaling grounds behind - at least for this season. Officials in Tokyo have finally acknowledged publicly that the deadly fire crippling the fleet's factory ship means an early...

Behind the spin: bearing witness in the Southern Ocean

Feature story | February 22, 2007 at 0:00

22 February - In the last week, the difference between what we see and hear, here in the Ross Sea, and what we read in the news could not have been more stark. We are getting conflicting reports from the whaling fleet and from the Institute of...

The key to ending whaling

Feature story | February 19, 2007 at 0:00

Jun Hoshikawa, a Japanese writer and translator, has published over 60 books. He took up the post as Executive Director for Greenpeace Japan 14 months ago. Here he explains what he believes is the key to ending whaling: changing the perceptions...

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