Seven lessons from marine conservation experts

Our future lies in the oceans and in our ignorance, in their fragility. We love to fill our social networks with nautical postcards, especially at this time of year: paradisiacal beaches, boat trips, sunsets on the high seas … in our lives. Most of the planet’s surface is ocean and produces half of the air we breathe; However, the sea is in danger. It is estimated that by 2050 there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish. One threat, added to warming, overfishing or spills, is eroding its wealth and diversity.

on the occasion of world ocean day, Signature BiothermCommitted for decades to the conservation of marine ecosystems, brought together leading experts in the field of Second Summit Online, the oceans have a voice. Some awareness and knowledge talks, where the voices leading the international debate emphasized the urgency of protecting the oceans and the impact of the actions we do on a daily basis. A personal gesture that is part of the joint work we must do to return to the sea that He has given us. We review some of the key messages of the day.

We breathe thanks to the oceans

The ocean is the true lungs of the planet. “When I was a kid, we all believed that it was too big to collapse, that it was so big and strong that it could take everything. Even if we knew we could sail the ocean are doing harm, so no one understood why we have to care. Now we know that we should thank Him every time we breathe, because most of the oxygen in the air comes from the ocean. Of some small green plants, phytoplankton, which provide more oxygen than terrestrial plants”, remembered the great American oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who has devoted his entire life to marine care.

With the belief that it is forests and forests that allow us to breathe, these microorganisms release at least 50% of oxygen from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, in turn removing carbon dioxide. “We must begin to understand that the ocean occupies the largest area of ​​the planet, that it has the greatest abundance of life and biodiversity, and that it has the greatest impact on climate. Our life would not be possible without oceans“, explained the founder of mission blue, an organization that identifies endangered marine areas and alerts the public to the need to protect them Asha Spot (place of hope).

American oceanographer Sylvia Earle was named Hero of the Planet by Time magazine.

Conservation is not enough, you have to rebuild the planet

What floats in the ocean is no longer a problem. What’s in the background, what we don’t see, is what really matters. We have to correct the mistakes of the past – we can’t just focus on the beauty of the ocean – and the past is the trillions and trillions of nanoplastics that cover everything. Belgian economist says gunter pauli, book author blue economy, in which it collects hundreds of innovations, starting with the observation and simulation of nature. For this activist, preserving the planet is no longer enough. “We’ve tried for the last 50 years, and what’s the result? A disaster. Except for the few thousand pandas we saved, we haven’t been able to stop this massacre of so many species. We shouldn’t be conserving, we’re the ecosystem. should be reproduced”. He speaks from his own experience.

Pauli was part of a project in Morocco to regenerate kelp forests, an ecosystem that is important to marine biodiversity because it is vulnerable, with which he searched for an ecological solution to clean the ocean. “We realized that microplastics were clinging to the algae, clogging their pores, so our productivity was five times lower than normal. Initially we declared a crisis, but nature was giving us a lesson: it taught us It was possible to remove microplastics from ocean-generating biomass. We harvest this biomass, convert it into biogas for the local population, and the sludge that remains in the process is organic phosphate. No need for a phosphate mine, we have a biophosphate that can be used as fertilizer to regenerate the Sahara”, explains the expert, who is planting these innovative seaweed curtains in thousands of kilometers of African coasts. calculates.

Oceans are saved inland

We are connected to water and, for better and for worse, it carries with it all of our actions. “s / oIf we want to end the marine litter problem, we need to start thinking about what we do upstream,” says Irene Dees, Director Ecolf Foundation. Those responsible for the firm, who during these years have collaborated with Mediterranean fishermen to convert ocean waste into the raw materials with which they make their clothes, noticed that a large portion of what they collected was marine. activities or fishing area. It was terrestrial waste that traveled thousands of kilometers from the bottom of the river.

Foundation partnered with firm Biotherm and NGO Libera to launch the project Clean Rivers, Save the Sea, a participatory and awareness initiative currently focused on the Jarama River, to restore the river’s environment and tackle the problem from its source. “The first thing we have to do is not to leave garbage in nature”, Dyzes resolves, referring to both the waste we forget on the farm and whatever we throw down the toilet. “We can’t use the toilet as a dustbin and we have to be very careful what we do with the garbage we generate. Many times we focus on that third ‘R’ of recycling and segregating But it is necessary for us to do the work of prevention. We have to consume better and that starts with consuming less”, Ditch.

Irene Déez is the director of the Ecoalf Foundation, which over the years collaborated with Mediterranean fishermen to turn ocean waste into the raw materials with which they make their clothes.

education as a solution

“Education and awareness are as important as garbage collection,” explains Jesus Abia. For the CEO of Biotherm in Spain, the success of the project Clean Rivers, Save the Sea, rooted in exactly that awareness, is the only way that the garbage that is being collected in Jarama’s surroundings doesn’t return there in a matter of months. An opinion also shared by the biologist and documentary maker of National Geographic Manu San Felix. -i for this passionate PosidoniaDesigned an application for ships to use anchors responsibly and thus reduce its impact on anchors Plants of Mediterranean origin – Awareness is the key to changing the course of things. “It’s a utopia, but if we can educate all the children in the world, the many, many problems that we have now will disappear in ten or fifteen years. To enhance the importance and beauty of all marine ecosystems.” The way is through education. and communication”, he defends.

“We have a relationship with nature”

“Even if you live in the city, you are somehow connected to the sea,” insists the South African filmmaker. Pippa Ehrlich, Oscar winner what the octopus taught me, a beautiful documentary in which he depicts the curious relationship between a man and an octopus. Without falling into morals or dangerous messages, the film takes us to the bottom of the ocean to reconcile ourselves with nature, reminding us of the special and delicate bond we maintain with the environment. “Climate change, ocean pollution, loss of biodiversity… these are all signs that humans have forgotten their place within the ecosystems that govern our planet, and I think if we all started thinking about that daily and Bringing awareness into our daily lives, we will change the way we behave”, lists Ehrlich, who advocates such simple gestures as using water in moderation or avoiding plastic consumption.

Oscar-winning documentary ‘What the Octopus Taught Me’ For South African filmmaker Pippa Ehrlich, cinema is another way to raise awareness.

waste is raw material

The most effective way that garbage doesn’t end up in the ocean is that we don’t generate it. However, the facts do not answer this argument. In the EU alone, 2,500 million tonnes of waste is generated per year and in this sense, the circular economy is an effective measure to reduce pollution. “It is very important to assess what we are producing. A container is something valuable and has the potential for negative change. We have to think that it is not about getting rid of things, but about generating the least amount of waste possible. Trying to do, to reuse what we can and of course, collect and recycle what we are producing.Because it is a raw material we need not to consume new resources can help”, explains Cesar Rodriguez, general secretary of AEMS-Rios con Vida, a union of conservation fishermen.

the sea is very grateful

During the imprisonment, nature made its way. Without falling into clichés or unnecessary condemnation, all those images of animals that take up space and conquer again show just how resistant the Earth is and its potential for rebirth. “It showed us that if we take action, if we move forward, the rewards can be great in the short and long term,” says Romain Truble, director of the Tara Ocean Foundation optimistically. last 18 years. In his latest research on coral reefs in the Pacific, he came to the same conclusion: not only is global warming, and the resulting rise in water temperatures, the cause of its current discoloration, but also the activity of the surrounding inhabitants. Islands affect your state of stress. “If we address these problems with short-term actions to contain these local stressors, we have a good chance of maintaining a healthy ocean and coral reefs in the future,” explains the expert. It’s just a matter of doing things well: using technology we have (and don’t use) to treat the water that ends up in the ocean, and being aware of the impact our gestures have on the environment.


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