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When seasoned sailor Ivan Macfadyen returned from his last Pacific crossing he raised an ominous alarm. “I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.” This once vibrant expanse of sea was hauntingly quiet, and covered with trash.
Experts are calling it the silent collapse. Although very few of us see it, we are causing it — overfishing, climate change, acidification, and pollution are devastating our oceans and wiping out entire species. It’s not just the annihilation of millennia of wonder and beauty, it impacts our climate and all life on Earth.
But we have a fleeting window still to act and 2015 could be the year to turn the tide — the UN is considering an initiative to stop dumping and pillaging in the high seas, and the UK just announced that they will create the largest single marine reserve ever in one of the most pristine areas on earth!
Lack of political will is the only real obstacle to getting more of these agreements moving. But creating massive public pressure to force political will is what our community is best at.
Avaaz has already helped win two of the biggest marine protected areas in the world. If enough of us pitch in now, we’ll ramp up our oceans campaigning to pull this crisis back from the brink, and save our precious oceans from silent collapse.
Ivan’s account of his apocalyptic voyage is a clarion call to action. Let’s get started right away.
This is us vs. the polluters, fishing empires, and agribusiness. Right now, fishing boats are scraping the ocean floor clean, and over 80% of sea pollution is coming from fertilisers, pesticides, and plastics pouring off land. The reports are dire: in less than 50 years, our oceans could be completely fished-out. In 100 years, all coral reefs might be dead.
But just as wilderness parks work to rehabilitate life on land, the same happens in the ocean. If our governments create big enough marine reserves and enforce protection laws, the ocean can regenerate.
If we pledge enough now we could win a network of marine sanctuaries in the Pacific, Antarctic, and the Atlantic; challenge illegal fishing and agribusiness where they are ravaging pristine natural regions; and go after a legally binding high seas agreement at the UN so 64% of the ocean’s surface will be protected!
Famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau said: “people protect what they love.” Let’s pitch in and inspire millions more people to fall in the love with the ocean and defend its treasures.
We are in a precarious moment when there are still fewer marine mammal extinctions than there are on land, and when ocean ecosystems have shrunk less than those on land. We have not yet passed the tipping point for our oceans, but we will if we don’t act soon and at a scale that rivals the enormity of the problem. There is no other community in the world that can do that like we can.
With hope and huge gratitude for this inspiring community, Emma, Nell, Ricken, Mais, Danny and the whole Avaaz team
Click here to pledge to support the Avaaz oceans campaign – donations will only be processed if enough is raised to expand their efforts.