Greenpeace has just launched a new, global campaign calling for the world’s biggest ocean sanctuary to be created in the Antarctic Ocean. Home to an amazing array of sea creatures, including whales, seals and penguins, the Antarctic Ocean is under threat from a warming climate and an expanding commercial krill-fishing industry.
Over the next year, we have an opportunity to make history. In October 2018, governments around the world will meet to discuss the creation of the largest protected area on Earth: an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. At 1.8 million square kilometers, it would be five times the size of Germany, or 200 times the size of Yellowstone National Park. An Antarctic Sanctuary would form a safe haven for penguins, whales and seals, and put the waters off-limits to the industrial fishing vessels that want to suck up the tiny shrimp-like krill, on which all Antarctic life relies. But an Antarctic Sanctuary will only happen if we rise up with one voice to demand that our leaders fulfil the obligation we all have to protect our shared oceans.
Creating an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, the largest protected area on Earth, would be a signal that corporate lobbying and national interests are no match for a unified global call for our political leaders to protect what belongs to us all. The movement to protect over half our planet begins now, and it begins in the Antarctic.