20 November, 2020
With the snowballing number of net zero pledges by companies and countries alike, carbon is certainly on the agenda. Single-use plastic and waste are also problems that we know are major issues. But, whilst the likes of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II have done well to encourage us to protect the oceans, there seems to be less focus internationally on this aspect of environmental action.
Many of us are familiar with the ocean’s plastic pollution problem. And possibly even the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’– an ‘island’ of plastic debris that has even been turned into a nation (also known as ‘The Trash Isles’) to make a point about its size. But did you know, for example, that the oceans are also losing oxygen and acidity, which impacts on the species they host and the stability of their ecosystems?
Perhaps (perhaps…) inspired by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s position as The Trash Isles’s Minister of Defence, this week Sweden announced a new diplomatic appointment. The country has assigned Helen Ågren its new role of Ambassador for the Ocean to sit within its Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The position puts the ocean deliberately on the agenda as part of tackling climate change.
Our oceans need all the help they can get, so seeing them intentionally advocated for in politics is a hugely important step. Alongside the issue of plastics, we hope this will also raise more awareness of rising sea levels, coral bleaching, overfishing and beyond.
By Cara McEvoy