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Until recently, the northern US border was secured by a continent-size piece of ice; however, as climate change opens up the Arctic to further exploitation and access, geopolitical uncertainties over regional dominance will arise and regional tensions will heighten. As such, the United States is gearing up to increase military presence in the Arctic. The use of a FONOP is a tool the U.S. can use to signal readiness to engage in the region. FONOPs have been used by the U.S. around the world to assert the rights of American ships to operate freely in disputed territories and to discourage illegitimate/excessive claims (examples of this can be seen throughout the South China Sea.)
Why This Matters? It has been predicted that by 2035 the Arctic will be completely free of ice in the summer; when the Arctic melts (becoming just another ocean,) geopolitical tensions will rise as Arctic nations struggle for dominance of the region. While the United States has a vested interest in asserting its right to operate its military freely in the Arctic and ensure freedom of movement for commercial vessels, a FONOP may be an aggressive display. Any military action taken in the Arctic needs to be strategic and well-thought out.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary System encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, and contains amazing cultural and historical resources, as well as […]
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