With the forests, oceans (that covers ¾ of our planet) are the second lung of earth.
Half of the dioxygen of our atmosphere comes from the Ocean.
Thousands of species of small organisms such as cyanobacteria or micro-algae also known as phytoplankton, transform CO2 into O2 through photosynthesis process. The phytoplankton is also at the base of the whole marine food chain! We couldn’t breathe without the ocean.
Human activities are closely linked with the ocean. ¼ of CO2 produced by human activities and over 90% of the global warming due to greenhouse gases emissions is absorbed in the ocean. But this is not without consequences.
Indeed, these evolutions induce water warming and sea dilatation, as well as climate changes and water composition modifications. The sea level will probably rise of 80 cm before the end of the century, inducing dramatical changes for the coastline and the population living near the shore (60% of world’s population lives within 100km of the coast). Marine wildlife is already migrating, creating unpredictable ecosystems changes. Corals are disappearing…
But climate change is not the only perturbator to ocean life.
Urbanization of coastal areas and the development of mass tourism also contribute to fragilize ecosystems and marine resources.
The globalization implies huge transportation of products and people all around the world. Fossil energies and plastics have had their golden age, but the limits seem to be closer and closer.
Who has never heard about the great pacific garbage patch or “7th plastic continent”?
The truth is even more alarmist. Every Ocean is now struck by these pollutions. The North Atlantic Garbage Patch is the closest to Europe.
The image of a pure blue Ocean is fading a bit more every day but we have the power to reverse the tendency!
We are all concerned worldwide and we can’t wait for others to act. Europe plays an important role in the change we want for our planet, for our ocean. That is the message that we want to spread with Surfrider Foundation Europe, as an environmental NGO.
If there was one moto: “Protect what you love” could probably be the one.
Being European citizen gives us the possibility to come together to defend big causes. From education programs to lobbies, Surfrider raises awareness in 11 European countries about the importance of preserving healthy oceans, coastlines and recreational marine activities.
100% of pollutions are of Human origin and 80% of Marine litter comes from the continent.
From that observation, Surfrider Foundation invites European citizens living on the coast or not to:
- Collect data about marine litter through the participation to beach cleanups aka “ Ocean Initiatives” that are also a good way to realize the importance of the pollution of our rivers and coasts.
- Change their habits to reduce pollutions at the sources. As an example, a European campaign called Reset your habits has been launched by SFE to fight against one of the most important plastic pollution of the ocean: plastic bottles. This is a clear call to action, to use reusable bottles, organize eco-friendly events and address a strong message to our politics.
The recent ban of single-use plastic bags, cotton buds, and cutlery is a real sign that our messages are being heard!
- Fight against the polluters by joining Surfrider Coastal Defenders program, which aims at protecting the Ocean through law actions, petitions or mobilization when projects or companies are conducting to massive disturbance to Ocean life or coastal activities. Drilling projects, degassing, or coastal management projects are part of the last fights of the NGO.
The recent demonstrations that took place in Europe these last weeks show us that the young generation is more and more conscious of the importance of preserving a healthy environment.
Citizens are ready to get involved to create these changes but major regulations need to be taken at a European level to accelerate the ecological transition and force industries to adopt ambitious evolutions, better for the planet, oceans and biodiversity.
(thank you Philippe Bencivengo – Environmental Project Manager from Surfrider Foundation Europe – for all the work you have been doing (!!) and the availability for this article.)