[permaculture] Making the Deep Blue Sea Green Again | Inter Press Service

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 13:06:09 EST 2017


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United Nations <http://www.ipsnews.net/news/terraviva-united-nations/> Making
the Deep Blue Sea Green Again
By Lyndal Rowlands <http://www.ipsnews.net/author/lyndal-rowlands/>

The UN Oceans Conference planned for June 2017 aims to create a more
coordinated global approach to protecting the world's oceans from rising
threats such as acidification, plastic litter, rising sea levels and
declining fish stocks.

A young boy stands near mangroves planted near his home in the village of
Entale in Sri Lanka’s northwest Puttalam District. Credit: Amantha

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 20 2017 (IPS) - Kids growing up in the Seychelles think
of the ocean as their backyard, says Ronald Jean Jumeau, Seychelles’
ambassador for climate change and SIDS.

“Our ocean is the first and eternal playground of our children, they don’t
go to parks they go to the ocean, they go to the beach, they go to the
coral reefs, and all that is just collapsing around them,” Jumeau told IPS.

The tiny country off the East Coast of Africa is one of 39 UN member states
known as small island states, or as Jumeau likes to call them: “large ocean

Ambassadors and delegations from these 39 countries often speak at UN
headquarters in New York steadfastly sounding the alarm about the changes
to the world’s environment they are witnessing first hand. Jumeau sees
these island states as sentinels or guardians of the oceans. He prefers
these names to being called the canary in the gold mine because, he says:
“the canaries usually end up dead.”

Yet while much is known about the threats rising oceans pose to the
world’s small island states, much less is known about how these large ocean
states help defend everyone against the worst impacts of climate change by
storing “blue carbon.”

“We are not emitting that much carbon dioxide but we are taking everyone
else’s carbon dioxide into our oceans,” says Jumeau.
"There’s 3 billion people around the world that are primarily dependent on
marine resources for their survival and so they depend on what the ocean
can produce,” -- Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s deputy prime minister.

Despite decades of research, the blue carbon value of oceans and coastal
regions is only beginning to be fully appreciated for its importance in the
fight against climate change.

“There’s proof that mangroves, seas salt marshes and sea grasses absorb
more carbon (per acre) than forests, so if you’re saying then to people
don’t cut trees than we should also be saying don’t cut the underwater
forests,” says Jumeau.

This is just one of the reasons why the Seychelles has banned the clearing
of mangroves. The temptation to fill in mangrove forests is high,
especially for a nation with so little land, but Jumeau says there are many
benefits to sustaining them.

Mangroves guard against erosion and protect coral reefs. They are also
provide nurseries for fish.

But its not just coastal forests that take carbon out of the atmosphere.
Oceans also absorb carbon, although according to NASA
<http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCarbon/> their role is more
like inhaling and exhaling.

The Seychelles, whose total ocean territory is 3000 times larger than its
islands, is also thinking about how it can protect the oceans so they can
continue to perform this vital function.

The nation plans to designate specific navigation zones within its
territories to allow other parts of the ocean a chance to recover from the
strains associated with shipping.

The navigation zones will “relieve the pressure on the ocean by
strengthening the resilience of the oceans to absorb more carbon dioxide
and ocean acidification,” says Jumeau. He acknowledges the plan will only
work if all countries do the same but says you have to start somewhere.

Fortunately other countries are also beginning to recognise the importance
of protecting the world’s oceans.

Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s deputy prime minister and climate minister told
IPS that the world is going “in the totally wrong direction,” when it comes
to achieving the goal of sustainable oceans and life below water.

“If you look at the trends right now, you see more and more overfishing, we
are seeing more and more pollution, plastic litter coming into our oceans,
and we’re also seeing all the stress that the ocean is under due to climate
change, acidification of the water, but also the warming and sea level
rises and all of this is putting a tremendous, tremendous pressure on our
oceans,” said Lövin.

Together with Fiji, Sweden is convening a major UN Ocean Conference
<https://oceanconference.un.org/> in June this year.

The conference aims to bring together not only governments but also the
private sector and non-governmental organisations to create a more
coordinated approach to sustaining oceans. It will look at the key role
that oceans play in climate change but also other issues such as the
alarming prospect that there will be more plastic in our seas than fish by
the year 2050.

“There’s 3 billion people around the world that are primarily dependent on
marine resources for their survival and so they depend on what the ocean
can produce, so it’s about food security, it’s also about livelihoods for
hundreds of millions of people that depend on small scale fisheries mostly
in developing countries,” said Lövin.

Lövin also noted that rich countries need to work together with developing
countries to address these issues, because the demand for fish in rich
countries has put a strain on the global fish stocks that developing
countries rely on.

“Rich countries … have been over-fishing with industrial methods for
decades and now when they European oceans are being emptied more or less we
have depleted our resources and then we import and we fish (over long
distances in) developing countries’ waters.”

“We need to make sure that fish as a resource is conserved and protected
for future generations.”

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