The Sea is a key enabler of life on Earth, producing 50% of the oxygen in the atmosphere, absorbing about 25% of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions and 90% of excess heat in the climate system, and regulating the global climate. The seas have greatly slowed the rate of climate change but also been among its first victim: 14% of coral reefs and the related biodiversity are gone, the Arctic has lost an ice area about six times the size of Germany over the last 40 years, and marine species are disappearing from their habitat at twice the rate of those on land.
Today’s seas are warmer, more acidic, and less productive, which is being discussed at COP26. Global warming reduces the mixing of seawater layers, which means fewer nutrients and oxygen, which has already produced profound changes in the distribution and abundance of marine life. Without ocean protection, we must expect climate change to have a profound impact on humans. But does protecting the seas rank high on the to-do list for saving the planet?
“We are currently severely undercounting carbon emissions that result from human activities in the ocean. Things like trawling by fishing fleets, activities that disturb the seabed. We must include oceans in how we account for emissions and pollution, and I hope COP26 will recognise this problem,” Dawn Wright, a scientist working for ESRI, told Reuters.
It is up to us, our habits – which must become more and more concerned with sustainability, the only way to respect the planet and the sea. At Seasons, we feel a strong sense of this responsibility. Our concept of food and doing business stems from the awareness that projects such as ours must take on the burden (relative, certainly) of fixing what will no longer be fixable in a few years. On the other hand, it is up to each one of us, free and powerful individuals, to choose activities and consumption that can be conscious and sustainable.
More than a dozen countries, including the United States, pledged on Tuesday to protect their national waters. The pledge is among a series of commitments being made at the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Leaders and negotiators have gathered to keep alive a receding target of capping global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Will be that enough? Will the promise meet the ambition needed to reverse the ongoing destruction of oceans?