The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
4 Must-See Videos on World Oceans Day
The ocean covers nearly three-fourths of the globe and is home to nearly half of the world’s known species—with countless yet to be discovered. It helps support more than 250 million people who depend directly or indirectly on fishing for their livelihoods. Still, human activities increasingly threaten its health. Although 72 percent of the world is covered by the ocean, less than 2 percent of these waters are fully protected.
Global Ocean Legacy, a project of Pew and its partners, works with local communities, governments, and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments. These efforts have helped double the amount of protected marine habitat worldwide over the last nine years. That includes two recent achievements: expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in September 2014 and the British government’s announcement in March 2015 that it will create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
Research shows that large, fully protected marine reserves are essential to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and protecting overall ocean health. To commemorate World Oceans Day on June 8, we invite you to watch four videos that highlight why fully protected marine reserves are critical to safeguarding these waters and the broader environment.
Caring for the environment has long been an important element of Palau’s culture. For centuries, chiefs have acted to protect these Pacific waters through the traditional "bul," a moratorium on catching key species or fishing on reefs that provide critical habitat. Commonly referred to as "one of the seven underwater wonders of the world," Palau’s ecosystems contain remarkable biodiversity, including more than 1,300 species of fish, more than 700 species of hard and soft coral, seven of the world’s nine types of giant clam, and non-stinging jellyfish. Pew was invited by Palau’s president to help create a large fully protected marine reserve in the island nation’s exclusive economic zone.
Located in the southeastern Pacific nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from mainland Chile, Easter Island has a rich cultural and environmental heritage. The island’s monumental sculpted heads have stood sentinel over this natural wonder, known as Rapa Nui in local Polynesian language, for centuries. Ancient Polynesians traveled through Easter Island’s waters for thousands of years using only the stars and the ocean for navigation. While largely unexplored, these seas are known to contain geological hot spots and areas of rare biodiversity that sustain highly migratory fish species. They also are known for ancient seamounts, 8.4 million to 13.1 million years old. Pew is working with the Rapa Nui community and the Chilean government to protect these ecologically important waters.
In March 2015, the British government announced its commitment to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the waters surrounding the Pitcairn Islands. A small U.K. overseas territory in the South Pacific, Pitcairn has one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world. Within these waters lies one of the best-preserved ecosystems, a complex community of hard and soft corals that is home to hundreds of species of fish, including two found nowhere else on Earth. Pew, on behalf of the Global Ocean Legacy campaign partners, is working with the British government and the Pitcairn Island community to implement the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve to safeguard this important habitat for future generations.
The Kermadec region, a remote area between New Zealand’s North Island and Tonga, includes some of the most geologically active and biologically unusual features on Earth. Extending in places to a depth of more than 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), the Kermadec-Tonga Trench is the deepest in the Southern Hemisphere, five times deeper than the Grand Canyon. The waters are teeming with birds, whales, dolphins, fish, turtles, and many unique sea creatures, some that exist only there. The area provides important habitat for deep-diving mammals such as sperm whales. Half of the known beaked whales—at least 10 species—are thought to inhabit these waters, perhaps the world’s richest habitat for these rare and elusive animals.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A dire new report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found that the climate crisis is on a worrying trajectory as the crisis's hallmarks — sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather — all increased over the last five years, which will end as the warmest five-year period on record.
By Peter Gleick
War is a miserable thing. It kills and maims soldiers and civilians. It destroys infrastructure, cultures and communities. It worsens poverty and development challenges. And it damages and cripples vital ecological and environmental resources.
Hundreds of activists gathered in the Swiss Alps on Sunday to mourn the loss of Pizol, a glacier that has steadily retreated over the last decade as temperatures have warmed the mountain tops, according to CNN.
Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.
By Shawn Radcliffe
- As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
- Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
- Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
By Julia Conley
As organizers behind Friday's Global Climate Strike reported that four million children and adults attended marches and rallies all over the world — making it the biggest climate protest ever — they assured leaders who have been reticent to take bold climate action that the campaigners' work is far from over.