Greenpeace Croydon took part in a national protest last weekend calling on the government to ensure our oceans are off-limits to deep-sea mining.
The volunteers’ photographs of their banners, displayed at sites around the town centre, together with hundreds from across the country, will be sent to the government to make it clear that people do not support plans to rip up the ocean floor for profit.
Greenpeace member Anna Orridge said, “The deep sea might seem a world away from Croydon, but in the year that the UK hosts the UN climate negotiations, we have a chance to prevent the needless destruction of our oceans. We’re sending a message to the government that they need to take ocean protection seriously and end their support for deep-sea mining.”
The nationwide banner protest is the latest step in the campaign to protect our oceans.
The government is conducting a review into deep-sea mining which will conclude in July. Among those to have spoken out against deep-sea mining are naturalists Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham.
Earlier this month, Greenpeace Croydon hosted online screenings of the documentary series Ocean Witness, and hundreds of people tweeted the Foreign Office Minister Zac Goldsmith about the need for a strong global ocean treaty.
Croydon Greenpeace’s campaign has drawn cross-party support, including from Conservative councillor Stuart Millson and Peter Underwood, the Green Party’s candidate in the London Assembly elections for Croydon and Sutton.
Greenpeace activists also recently held protests around the world: in the Pacific Ocean they displayed a banner in front of a ship chartered by DeepGreen, one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine this precious ecosystem. Volunteers simultaneously carried out a peaceful protest in San Diego, targeting a ship chartered by Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources.
Despite the UK being a major player in this area, little is known about this murky industry. One of the three largest corporations who work on deep-sea mining is UK Seabed Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of US weapons giant Lockheed Martin.
Activists targeted GSR again as they conducted deep-sea mining tests, writing “Risk” in six-foot-high letters across the side of the ship.
During these tests, Greenpeace documented large patches of sediment rising to the surface, indicating significant disturbance to the sea bed.
The depths of our oceans are often less well-understood and less-explored by the world’s scientists than the surface of Mars. Deep-sea mining involves sending huge industrial machinery into these fragile ecosystems.
Orridge said, “This would undermine the livelihoods of many people in Pacific island communities, by threatening fish stocks, and it risks disturbing carbon storage in the deep ocean.
“We need to protect at least 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030, and make sure governments urgently agree to a global ocean treaty that can create a global network of ocean sanctuaries where marine life can thrive.
“Instead of allowing the exploitation of our oceans, or unsustainable land-based mineral extraction, governments need to prioritize resource efficiency, and a transition to a circular economy, whereby resource usage is reduced and metals already in circulation are reused and recycled,” Orridge said.
Another volunteer, Sarah Hester, said, “Deep-sea mining involves sending monster machines deep beneath the waves, to bulldoze and churn up the seabed in search of ‘polymetallic nodules’ that harbour minerals like manganese, nickel, cobalt and copper.
“The good news is that deep-sea mining has not started in any part of the world – yet – but machines have been built and a handful of companies and governments, the UK among them, have already obtained licences for exploratory mining in the Pacific Ocean.”
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