From Greta Thunberg’s stark warnings to the UN, to Extinction Rebellion’s climate strikes, global warming has rocketed to the forefront of our collective socio political consciousness in the last year. For good reason: The IPCC’s scientists have issued a sobering warning that we only have twelve years to limit climate change. Although the climate crisis will disproportionately affect the poorest 10% of the planet, it is an existential threat facing every living being. The ocean, containing 97% of the world’s water, is one of the greatest causes for concern. It sustains all life on Earth, accounting for 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity, but its health is in rapid decline.
Our annual Ocean Awards, in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, aim to draw attention and support to conservation efforts. In the spirit of education, we have compiled a list of the greatest threats to our oceans, and solutions we can all work towards,
1. Plastic Pollution
Plastic is emblematic of unethical consumerism; it is cheap to manufacture, durable and disposable. As a result, vast quantities pollute our oceans. A truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute, damaging ecosystems and entering the food chain. Turtles, dolphins and seabirds can mistake it for food or become entangled and injured. Plastic has been found in the oceans as deep as 11km, meaning synthetic fibres have contaminated the remotest places on Earth. A chilling estimate suggests that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish (by weight).
- Use less plastic - here is a list of ways you can reduce your personal plastic footprint
- Donate to the cleanup effort - The Ocean Cleanup is developing a passive cleanup method, which uses natural oceanic forces to rapidly and cost-effectively clean up the plastic already in the oceans.
- Hold corporations accountable with your cash - Coca Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo are the worst offenders