Amazon Reef © Greenpeace
One of the first images of the Amazon Reef taken from a submarine launched from the MY Esperanza. © Greenpeace

The Amazon Reef region is a vital, diverse and beautiful area between Brazil and French Guiana. A place where the impossible becomes a reality: a reef that grows at up to 200 meters depth and a place where 2 million people won a battle against a huge and powerful oil company: Total.

From coastal areas to the high seas, the reef region is also one of the priority areas that must be protected if we really want to safeguard the oceans of the planet. But the bad news is it’s also a target area for oil companies like BP, who since 2016 have been trying to open this new oil frontier in Brazil. 

If this is allowed to happen it could be devastating for a huge area well beyond Brazil, from French Guiana into international waters, for the oceans and for the climate alike. An oil spill could reach far beyond borders, to critical ecosystems like one of the biggest mangroves in the world, and would be terrible news for the Amazon Reef and the vulnerable species such as whales and turtles that live there. And, of course, drilling for oil we can’t afford to burn is madness in the unfolding climate emergency.

But right now, governments have a historic opportunity to agree a global treaty to protect the oceans. This is a huge moment for global leaders to do the right thing – approve a strong Global Ocean Treaty to protect the oceans, to halt the catastrophic loss of marine wildlife and to help tackle the climate emergency. 

That’s why Greenpeace is on an expedition from Pole to Pole, to exploring and research the oceans of our blue planet, and to shine a light on the challenges they face. For the next five weeks we are going to record, study and document the diverse beauty of the Amazon Reef region, and show the leaders of the planet why it is so crucial for them to protect our oceans from the dirty hands of oil companies.

Javier Bardem Campaigns for Global Ocean Treaty in New York. © Jason Miczek / Greenpeace
Javier Bardem campaigns for Global Ocean Treaty in New York. © Jason Miczek / Greenpeace

And we are going to do all this for a very simple reason: because it could  be our last chance to document it all. If the Amazon Reef oil frontier is finally opened. Even with our historic win against the oil industry and Total in 2018, the new Brazilian government has recently declared that it’s ‘not impossible’ for BP to get a license to drill there. They’ve even allowed BP an extension to apply for drilling rights. As we can see, the Amazon forest fires are not the only thing threatened by a political system which does not respect or value the natural world.

Join us if you, like me, want a future that is clean, safe and full of beauty. Join us and sign the petition if you believe, like me, that together we can make it happen.

Silvia Díaz Pérez is the Engagement Lead of Amazon Reef project.