Bountiful Oceans

Food, work, fun, adventure, sport and life – not many things can give us all those things in one. Every day the oceans give us the air we need to breathe; the weather to grow crops; water to support the smallest to the largest animals on earth and 80% of all species; vast ice flows to help regulate our climate; millions of jobs and a life-time of pleasure.

World Oceans Day in Senegal. 06/08/2013 © Clément Tardif / Greenpeace

Our Oceans – fit for the future

You and I are alive right now because of the oceans. There is no other place in the universe so full of life as this planet; so green, so rich in diverse, beautiful, weird and wonderful, large and small species, on land and at sea and it is all because Planet Earth is Planet Ocean.

They are home to the largest animal our planet has ever known – the now-endangered blue whale - but there are still huge areas of ocean that humans have never seen. Biologists estimate that there could be anywhere between 500,000 and 5,000,000 marine species down there that have yet to be discovered.

Earth's longest mountain range is not on land but under the sea - the Mid-Oceanic ridge system, which winds around the globe from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic. It is four times longer than the Andes, Rockies, and Himalayas combined!

More people have stood on the moon than dived the deepest ocean trench and less than 5% of all the oceans have been explored. There is so much more for us to discover.

Underwater Life in Dry Tortugas. 08/16/2010 © Todd Warshaw / Greenpeace

They are home to some of the longest-lived animals on our planet – including the orange roughy (a fish that can live up to 200 years) and centuries old corals. They are silent witnesses to the huge environmental damage done over their lifetimes, damage which will have a significant impact on all our futures.

But, imagine if all those millions, maybe billions, of people who get food, jobs and pleasure from the ocean worked together to stop the overfishing and other ocean destruction.

Imagine what we could do together to be the change we want for the sea.

Teachers Welcome Greenpeace in Apo Island. 07/09/2013 © Steve De Neef / Greenpeace

We can do it.

Companies have changed their fish supply policies, destructive fishing practices have been banned, huge whale sanctuaries created – all because the voices demanding change could not be ignored. But now, in part due to the relentless march of technology, our oceans are being altered on a vast scale and at an unprecedented speed, meaning that many more of us need to be heard - and fast.

There is one big solution that is simple and affordable – the creation of ocean sanctuaries. 

If we zone off about 40% of the oceans as protected areas – places that are special to marine life, such as important feeding and breeding grounds or areas where fish populations are already at breaking point - then we can give our oceans the breathing space they need to recover and keep our planet running.

Fish in the Great Barrier Reef. 12/12/2011 © Darren Jew / Greenpeace

It is estimated that governments would have to spend around US$15million a year to make it happen. We will spend fifteen times more on luxury good by 2015, than politicians will set aside for the safeguarding of the world’s most essential asset. Let’s change that.

The oceans support billions of us. If each of us did just one thing, we could change the future. We can make sure that in years to come our children can still enjoy clean sea, teeming with life. Setting up ocean sanctuaries now will give our children and us oceans of plenty in the future. It’s a big job but together we can create oceans fit for the future.

The latest updates

 

No Country for Cold Men: Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem visits Antarctic seafloor...

Press release | 30 January, 2018 at 0:48

London, 30 January, 2018 - Just days after Greenpeace released rare footage of the Antarctic seafloor, Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem has dived in a two-person submarine to visit this remote location and call for the creation of a vast...

Diving to the Antarctic sea floor is a scientist’s dream come true

Blog entry by Dr Susanne Lockhart | 25 January, 2018

Most people would be surprised about how many species of cold-water corals and amazing sponges you’d find on the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean. Even as the scientist who has identified three quarters of the registered seafloor...

The Rise of the Penguins

Blog entry by Will Rose | 24 January, 2018

Never have so many penguins been seen waddling in so many places. They were ice skating in Stockholm, tap dancing in London, trekking up the highest mountain in Turkey and marching on mass in central Tokyo. They were even spotted...

Greenpeace submarine captures rare footage of the Antarctic seafloor ‘carpeted with life’

Press release | 24 January, 2018 at 7:33

London, 24 January 2018 - Greenpeace International has released its first submarine footage from a part of the Antarctic seafloor never before visited by humans. The footage shows a seafloor ‘carpeted with life’ as well as ‘clear indications of a...

'Impossible to estimate magnitude' of Sanchi oil spill - Greenpeace

Press release | 24 January, 2018 at 5:10

Hong Kong, 24 January 2017 - The Chinese State Oceanic Administration announced that oil from the sunken tanker Sanchi may now cover an area of 332km2, much larger than previously reported.

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