Smallest Nations Lead the Way to World’s Largest Ocean Preserve
While most countries turn a blind eye to the unprecedented global crisis of the loss of Arctic ice, small island nations are leading the way to protect it through supporting MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. MAPS transforms the entire Arctic Ocean into the world’s largest preservation area, stopping all activities harmful to the ice, the Earth’s air conditioner. Other nations must follow their lead now, while there is still time.
What is happening in the Arctic is affecting all life everywhere. Few people realize that the Arctic sea ice reflects the sun’s heat away from the planet and ensures everyone has the food and water needed to survive. But it’s melting fast, while global mega powers seek to profit off its thaw, putting life everywhere at risk. Though small island nations like the Cook Islands have contributed the least to the environmental and humanitarian crisis unfolding in our world today, they face some of the most severe effects, with disappearing coastlines, ravaging storms and rising food instability. The loss of our Arctic sea ice, and its devastating effects around the world, are an underreported global emergency.
Everyone has the right to know that the problem is massive. But there is more than hope. There is MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. MAPS not only turns the Arctic Ocean above the Arctic Circle into the biggest peace sanctuary the world has ever known, free from exploitation, shipping traffic and military activity; it compels a global shift to sustainability on all levels. By taking Arctic seabed oil off the table for good, it catalyzes our pivot to renewable energies. In a time of widespread strife, MAPS unites the world as one Earth family—giving voice to all nations and people equally, regardless of their wealth or political influence. It bypasses bureaucratic red tape to create the protection we urgently need at the necessary speed. And it takes the priority away from short-term gain for a few to where it belongs: the long-term good of all.
Inspired by a world in need, the all-volunteer Parvati.org, founded and led by the award-winning Canadian musician and author Parvati, took the unprecedented step to create the MAPS Treaty as an addendum to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This powerful expression of love in action has been translated into all six official languages of the UN, distributed to all 193 member states, and brought every year since 2015 to UN Climate Conferences by volunteers at their own expense. It enters into force with the signatures of 99 states members of the UN or any of the specialized agencies. The Arctic sea ice is a gift of life for the entire world. Protecting it is everyone’s birthright.
Though small island nations are far from the Arctic, they understand this, and have been leading the way for MAPS. Prime Minister Henry Puna, who has signed the MAPS Treaty on behalf of the people of the Cook Islands, says:
As a global citizen, the Cook Islands recognises that climate change and its impacts knows no boundaries and affects us all.
We say we are on the front lines, we will be impacted first, we are most vulnerable. But in reality, what happens in the Arctic, what happens with the pack ice, and what happens as our seas warm, we are all going to bear the brunt of these effects.
This is why the Cook Islands are going to sign up to and support the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary Treaty. The time for bold action is now, and while my country has already started, we support others to do the same.
Prime Minister Puna joins Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi who was the first signatory to the MAPS Treaty. “We owe sincere gratitude and respect to the small island developing states who are courageously leading the call to protect our world,” says Parvati. “They understand that the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary does not just protect the Arctic Ocean. It protects all of life. Let’s join them wholeheartedly in standing up for a healthy world.”