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Southern Ocean Photo: Robert Pitman – National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer
An alliance of conservation groups has combined forces to advocate at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which manages the ocean around Antarctica, in favor of creating at its virtual meeting this year a trio of marine protected areas (MPAs) covering 1.5 million square miles, or 1% of the world’s ocean.These MPAs would ban industrial krill fishing, help preserve the region’s biodiversity, slow the effects of climate change, and bring the world closer to preserving 30% of the world’s ocean space by 2030. National Geographic wildlife photographer and co-founder of SeaLegacy, Cristina Mittermeier, said “If these three marine protected areas … [are] created at the same time, it would form the largest marine protection in the history of humanity.”
Why this Matters: The Southern Ocean is vital in regulating the world’s climate — its “conveyer belt” of currents keep Antarctica cold while keeping the rest of the world warm. The Southern Ocean also absorbs heat and carbon, a huge factor in mitigating the effects of climate change. In addition, the ocean surrounding Antarctica houses over 15,000 species. Mittermeier, summed up the significance of these MPAs toMongabay: “The way that Antarctica goes, so does the world. And the reason for protecting Antarctica is not just to protect krill, but to buy us time … because these protections will lend resiliency to the whole ocean system to buy us time while we curb emissions.”
ABC News reports that there is a creeping underground invasion of our coasts, and it is moving inland much faster than had been previously thought, according to new research funded by the National Science Foundation. The stealth invader? Saltwater, which is infiltrating our coastal communities and creating unseen risks well in advance of the surface floods that drown our homes and businesses.
Why this Matters: This problem will become more and more common as climate change continues, causing widespread displacement across the world.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer According to a 2020 U.N. environmental report, seagrass “prairies” play a massive role in the health of the world’s oceans and if nothing is done to stop their decline, the world will face serious consequences. Seagrasses support rich biodiversity that sustains a whopping 20% of the world’s fisheries, and […]
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