Greenpeace US Joins Ocean Justice Forum in Announcing Platform
by Linda Rodríguez
September 20, 2022
Ocean Justice would harness a power shift that advances their full participation and leadership in ocean decision-making and secure their equal access to healthy and prospering shorelines and oceans.
The oceans are a cornerstone of life on Earth. They contain 50 to 80% of all life on the planet, help regulate the world’s climate and temperature, produce more than half of all oxygen, act as a critical carbon sink, provide food for millions of people, and are a source of 97% of our water. Protecting the oceans is critical to ensuring we all have a liveable planet.
However, centuries of neglect and abuse have pushed them into crisis. Plastic pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and the climate crisis are weakening the very systems we depend upon. And even then, member states of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) are negotiating rules that could allow the launch of deep sea mining by July 2023, which scientists warn could result in further degradation of the oceans.
Vulnerable communities whose homes, lives, and livelihoods are directly dependent on healthy oceans often bear the brunt of the resulting crises. In our oceans and on our coasts, sea level rise, increasingly intense storms, and health effects from port pollution and petrochemical development impact people of color and poor people first and worst.
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act made historic investments in climate solutions and is critical to setting the U.S. on the path to achieving its climate goals. However, this pyrrhic victory came at the cost of yet more drilling and more pollution in the historically marginalized communities of the Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan coast.
We believe that instead of reinforcing and perpetuating this harmful status quo, we must seize this moment to make climate policy more inclusive and just and address the failings of previous policies that have left frontline people behind.
For marginalized and under-resourced communities, which have been excluded from power as a result of historical racism, industrialization, militarization, and colonization, Ocean Justice would harness a power shift that advances their full participation and leadership in ocean decision-making and secure their equal access to healthy and prospering shorelines and oceans.
That is why today, Greenpeace USA, as a member of the Ocean Justice Forum, joins 17 other grassroots and national nonprofit organizations from across the U.S. to unveil the Ocean Justice Platform. The groundbreaking, forward-looking, consensus-based policy proposal envisions what a just ocean future should look like in coastal communities and across the country. The Platform’s principles and policy priorities include:
- Protecting the ocean and the benefits it provides for all: A healthy ocean provides communities with economic opportunities, recreation, cultural and spiritual practices, and more. Policies to protect and restore ocean health through 30×30 and other efforts must include the perspectives of ocean justice communities and provide equitable access to healthy coastlines.
- Alleviating the disproportionate burden of pollution on ocean justice communities: Pollution from fossil fuels, agricultural runoff, plastics, and more disproportionately affect ocean justice communities. Policymakers must hold polluting industries accountable while also reducing and removing pollutants.
- Promoting an economy that sustains the ocean and communities that rely on it: A just ocean economy must prioritize people over corporations and uplift communities with family-sustaining jobs. It’s on policymakers to include communities in decision-making and ensure they can support their historical and traditional ways of life.
- Uplifting justly-sourced renewable energy from the ocean: The ocean has more to offer than damaging fossil fuels. It’s time to stop taxpayer support of offshore oil and gas that has harmed ocean justice communities, eliminate port emissions, and transition to justly sourced renewable energy.
- Prioritizing community social cohesion in disaster response and adaptation investments: For too long, ocean justice communities have not had adequate support from the federal government as they face rising tides and stronger storms. Policymakers must strengthen planning, provide resources to minimize expected impacts, and increase investments in emergency response to help communities recover so that they have the resources and support necessary to make their own short and long-term decisions.
We’re committing to end the status quo that has marginalized ocean justice communities. Join us in signing the #oceanjustice platform.
Watch a recording of the Ocean Justice Forum’s September 20 Press Conference.
Definition of Ocean Justice
Ocean Justice exists at the intersection of social inclusion, ocean stewardship, and justice. It harnesses a power shift advancing the voices, full participation, and leadership of historically excluded Peoples and Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities in ocean decision-making, ensures meaningful and equitable engagement of all communities and delivers equal access to healthy and prospering shorelines and oceans for all.
The Ocean Justice Forum
The Ocean Justice Forum (OJF) is an initiative co-led by Azul, Center for American Progress, Taproot Earth, and Urban Ocean Lab. The Ocean Justice Forum convened leaders from 18 environmental justice, community, Indigenous, and national nonprofit organizations to develop a consensus-based federal ocean policy platform that promotes racial, climate, environmental, and economic justice
Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first.