Monday, March 3, 2014

Please sign!

Yes, I know . . . at the present time our attention is focussed on political events.  We are anxious about worldwide tensions and uprisings . . . we are preoccupied with our inability to live in peace.

But, on the environmental front, something else is going on.  Something that is less in evidence, but could have greater impact for future generations . . . something that we could well be foolish to ignore.

Have you heard about the Deep Sea Mining Bill whose legislation cleared the House of Commons a few weeks ago?  They were talking about it on 'Broadcasting House' on Sunday morning.

This Bill gives the green light to mining below the oceans, to exploration of the sea-bed for valuable minerals such a nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese.  Environmental concerns, and there were many of them, have been pushed aside in the interest of economic growth.

When it comes to the needs of economic growth, it seems that our oceans are unable to cry out in their own defence . . . and, as the radio programme pointed out, they are already under attack.

Even without any unforeseen and damaging consequences of the mining, our seas are in serious trouble.  First there was the discovery of what has become known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area the size of France consisting of highly toxic plastic residues.  It was then found that there was a equally toxic Atlantic Garbage Patch, a large area also suffering from a surfeit of plastic waste.

True, a few courageous individuals do their best to expose what is happening.  You may have read how David de Rothschild designed a 60ft. catamaran out of plastic bottles to highlight what he called the 'dumb use of plastic' in food and drink packaging.

With a crew of six, he sailed 'Plastiki' across the Pacific in the hope of drawing the world's attention to what was going on.

Nonetheless, this brave venture amounts to little more than a drop in the ocean compared with the flood of commercial counter-attack.
It takes a highly impressive marketing campaign to convince a sceptical public that it's more intelligent to go out and purchase water in a plastic bottle rather than stay where you are and, for a fraction of the cost, simply turn on a tap.

So, we drink our bottled water, we discard our plastic bags and, by and large, we look the other way.
The oceans will always be there, won't they?  Of course they will!
It's inconceivable to imagine that the clear blue water . . . the white surf . . . the golden sands . . . the fish and the sea-birds . . . the whales, turtles and dolphins . . . the familiar aquatic world that provides us with water, food, perspective and refreshment . . . that all of this could ever be at serious risk.

But, will the oceans, as we now know them, survive being used as a dumping ground?
Our environment is fragile.  Historically speaking, plastic has only been here for the blink of an eye . . . yet look at the havoc it's caused.

What will it be like in ten years . . . or fifty years?
Will boats be struggling to move through a blanket of toxic plastic debris . . . will sea-dwelling creatures have become extinct . . . will sand-castles be no more?

But there is something we can do . . . and each one of us can participate.

The MED Expedition, a scientific, environmental campaign involving ten research laboratories, has been set up in Europe.  To date they've discovered that 'about 250 billion floating microplastics contaminate the surface of the Mediterranean'.

Determined to stop the Mediterranean becoming a 'plastic soup' they are asking all those who share their concern to sign their petition.

Please, will you click here and sign?
Think of the last time you stood on a beach and felt the sand between your toes. . . think of the clear water lapping around your ankles . . . think of the oceans in our care . . . and, please, add your name.