The earth is warming at an alarming rate. Nowhere is this more evident than the Arctic Ocean, where ice is disappearing fast.
In what is known as the albedo effect, the white ice at the poles reflects the sun’s radiation back away from the earth. Without the ice, the solar radiation is absorbed and further warms the oceans, melting more ice and creating a dangerous feedback loop for climate change.
The Antarctic region has been protected for decades from exploitation. But the Arctic, one of the planet’s most fragile ecosystems, stands to be exploited by business and political interests for the resources within its seabed, further threatening the ice that remains and the marine life beneath it.
Almost three quarters of the earth’s surface is ocean water. But the water on our planet is sick, under attack from pollution, exploitation and global warming. Oceans capture a quarter of the carbon we emit into the atmosphere every year. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere means the ocean is carrying far more carbon than it ever has in the past. This is changing its chemistry with devastating long-term consequences for marine life.
As the polar ice caps melt, sea levels and ocean temperatures rise, heating up the planet. Heated waters mean altered ecosystems, loss of species, and more hurricanes. Since three-quarters of the world’s megacities sit on coastlines, a rising sea level threatens the way of life for nearly half of the world’s population.
Our human bodies are made of water, and depend on water. We cannot separate ourselves from the condition of our oceans and their inhabitants. When the planet’s water is at risk, every aspect of humanity is affected.
Studies show that oil reserves beneath the Arctic Ocean are “unburnable” under any scenario that limits global warming to 2ºC.
Cargo ships burn heavy fuel, high in sulfur and particulate matter that settles on the Arctic ice, darkening it and counteracting the albedo effect.
Whales are crucial performers in helping to regulate the planet’s temperatures. In what is known as the whale pump effect, whales bring nitrogen from the ocean’s depths to fertilize carbon-capturing phytoplankton at the surface. The loss of whales in the past century due to hunting and ship strikes accounts for as many as 2.35 million additional tons of carbon in the atmosphere.
The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary boldly addresses many key and pivotal climate crisis issues with one single, no cost, immediately realizable solution.
The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary establishes all ocean waters north of the Arctic Circle as a marine protected area free from natural resource exploitation, commercialization and military activity.
MAPS not only:
- Protects the fragile Arctic ecosystem, which is key to keeping our planet cool and helping prevent natural disasters such as forest fires, floods and droughts
- Shelters our oceans and ocean life, which absorb a quarter of the world’s carbon and are essential for the future of humanity
- Safeguards the polar ice caps, which put the brakes on global warming through the albedo effect, by stopping through traffic
- Declares our global commitment to sustainable energies and our cessation of the use of fossil fuels by saying “no” to the unburnable oil resources in the Arctic
- Unites world leaders in agreement that the needs of the collective are equal to the needs of the individual, no longer putting short-term gain ahead of long-term consequence.
We no longer live in an era when we have the luxury to consider one isolated region as if it were separate from the whole. What happens in the Arctic affects our entire world. For the sake of all life on the planet, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary must be realized immediately.
To expedite the realization of MAPS, Parvati.org drafted the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary Treaty as an amendment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It has been translated into all official UN languages and sent to all heads of government around the world. With the signatures of 99 nations, including all those with territorial claims in the Arctic, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary will come into effect.
There is no more time to play dice with our ecosystem. Parvati.org calls on all member-states of the United Nations to ratify the MAPS treaty immediately. We welcome assistance from organizations around the world in pressing heads of government to act now.
Wherever you are in the world, you can sign the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary petition to call on world leaders to endorse MAPS immediately. Help show your government that citizens expect them to step up and protect the planet now. Then share the petition with your networks. Your voice matters!
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