While Canadian Government Stalls, Canadian Volunteer Meets Small Island Nations for Arctic Ocean Protection

While Canada’s government pays lip service to urgently needed ocean conservation with its April 25 promise to stop exploitation in protected areas, one Canadian has traveled to Suva, Fiji on her own funds and time for the third Climate Action Pacific Partnership Conference (CAPP III). She’s giving world leaders there the chance to sign the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) Treaty, which creates the largest protected area in history and safeguards all life on Earth.

The Arctic Ocean is our planet’s air conditioning system. It balances weather patterns globally so that we all have the food and resources we need to survive. But it’s under threat as never before, as its ice vanishes and corporations and governments seek to profit from the open waters. The result is more natural disasters, crop failures, food shortages, poverty, disease, rising sea levels, mass migration and ever-increasing suffering worldwide. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who make up the majority of the CAPP III delegations, have contributed the least to this underreported environmental and humanitarian crisis unfolding in our world today. Yet they face some of the most severe effects.

MAPS is an immediate and effective response. It declares the entire Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle an international peace park, stopping all the activities that harm the melting ice. By taking Arctic Ocean exploitation and militarization off the table for good, MAPS will accelerate a global shift to sustainability on all levels, and inspire a change from short-term gain for a few to the long-term good of all.

Led by its founder and CEO the award-winning musician, author and activist Parvati, the all-volunteer non-profit organization Parvati.org created the MAPS Treaty as an addendum to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. An unprecedented move by an NGO, the MAPS Treaty enters into force with the signatures of 99 UN member nations. Two SIDS nations have already signed: Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Parvati.org’s General Counsel Vandana Erin Ryder is now in Fiji to secure further MAPS support from SIDS leaders. It will be a poignant trip for Vandana, as she is there in place of her colleague Darcy Belanger. Darcy, Parvati.org’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, died tragically earlier this year on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, on his way to represent MAPS at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. Today at CAPP III, a video tribute to Darcy and MAPS was presented during the Ocean Pathway session.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government congratulates itself for creating small protected areas scattered throughout its oceans. Yet leading biologists say we must immediately protect half of our oceans and lands in order to prevent mass extinction. MAPS alone protects 3% of the world’s oceans. But Canada has taken no action on the MAPS Treaty since it was first provided to Prime Minister Trudeau three and a half years ago.

As ice melts into the Arctic Ocean at the rate of 14,000 tons a second and Arctic shipping routes are drawn up daily, we no longer have time for anything but bold, ambitious and decisive action to protect our planetary life support. That’s why Parvati.org is using arts, technology and the power of modern media to cool minds, lighten footprints, and awaken an inevitable call for MAPS. Everyone has the right to know a healthy world is possible.


“Small island states like Samoa which are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change see MAPS as a realizable solution to addressing pivotal climate change issues.”
The Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa; First MAPS Treaty Signatory

“The Arctic – no matter where we come from and where we live – is the common heritage of all humans. Its fate and future have serious consequences for all of us.”
James Alix Michel, Former President of Seychelles; National Geographic Planetary Leadership Award Recipient

“As a mother, I am committed to ensuring our children inherit a healthy world. As Darcy’s friend and colleague, I am determined to finish what he started. I’m going to Fiji because the leaders and citizens of small island developing states deserve the chance to protect their own homes and all life through MAPS.”
Vandana Erin Ryder, General Counsel at Parvati.org

“From the remote reaches of the Arctic Ocean to the tropical waters around the South Pacific islands, we are all connected. MAPS invites world leaders to recognize the special role of the Arctic Ocean in preserving and nurturing all life on Earth, and unite for the benefit of humankind as a whole. I implore all nation leaders attending CAPP III to sign the MAPS Treaty now.”
Parvati, award-winning musician, author and activist; Founder and CEO of Parvati.org