In the wake of the IPCC’s latest synthesis report, the Ocean & Climate Platform (OCP) has published a paper on the role of marine ecosystems, the impacts of human activities and climate change, and the solutions they could offer.
“A little blue marble floating in the big universe”
Cristina Mittermeirer is an adventurer, conservationist, writer and photographer. Her work has been published in hundreds of publications, including National Geographic Magazine, McLean’s and TIME. She believes photogaphy is a critial tool in the world’s Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, opening up themes – previously isolated to scientific communities – to a vast audience. Below, is just a snapshot of some of her work. Recently she spoke with COP25 High Level Champion for Chile, Gonzalo Muñoz about the role of photography in the protection of the oceans.
“Images can help us understand the urgency many photographers feel to protect wild places. My work is about building a greater awareness of the responsibility of what it means to be human. It is about understanding that the history of every living thing that has ever existed on this planet also lives within us. It is about the ethical imperative — the urgent reminder that we are linked to all other species on this planet and that we have a duty to act as the keepers of our fellow life forms.”
“I love photography because I feel I can facilitate a conversation that otherwise would not happen. I love making photographs that stop people in their tracks and make us think. Photographs have that ability of permeating into our subconscious in a way that makes us remember.”
“The biggest challenge the ocean faces is that we know so little about it. And we are attacking it in so many fronts. It’s death by a million wounds.”
“When you show somebody a photograph or a video, we all feel competent, we all are very good at stories and at visual interpretation. So people actually feel like they are invited into the conversation.”
“We’ve already lost 50% of the reefs. Coral reefs are so important. Not just because they’re the nurseries and sanctuaries for so many species that humans need. But also because they create a barrier that shelters the coast from the fury of hurricanes and storms. But beyond their vital necessity to the planet, we should protect them and love them just because they’re beautiful.”
“I think that blue economies can replace exploitative economies. I think we can make more money from tourism than we can from fisheries. We can make more money from carbon credits than we can from oil. I just think we have to have the courage to reimagine our economic models and engines.”
“If I invite you to close your eyes for a minute and think about our planet, what do you see? You see a little blue marble floating in the big universe. And the reason it’s blue is because it’s covered in ocean and this ocean is not just water, it’s a living broth; it’s alive. If you look with a microscope, you can find a microscopic rainforest but you can also find the largest animals on our planet.”
“Animals need space, and they need a break from economic activity, from humans making noise, from humans creating chaos. I hope that we have learned some lessons during this pandemic. I hope that we understand that the economic systems that have taken us to this moment are the wrong ones for the future. And that we really need to make room for different kinds of thinking. We have a sliver a small window of opportunity to change it all. And we have to have the courage to say we want this change.”
“I think in the interest of supporting climate change resiliency, we should ban industrial fishing. That is not the same as banning artisanal fishing people in coastal communities, which need this to survive. And how good would it be if we all knew who caught the fish on our plate, and if we knew it was from a family business that supports the local economy.”
“We have issues that are possibly solved with technology and with circular economy thinking. But there are other issues, like the loss of biodiversity and the loss of sea ice that are irreversible: once we lose them, we will never get them back.”
“We need to tackle cynicism. For that we need people need to feel inspired, hopeful, energised and activated because who doesn’t want to live in a beautiful planet? I want to live in a planet where there’s old growth forest, where there’s coral reefs and dolphins and whales. I think we all do.”
Click here to read Cristina’s interview in full.
After more than a decade of talks and negotiations, UN Member States have agreed a High Seas Treaty that will ensure the protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Creating a well-protected and sustainably managed ocean is a tough challenge, but by working together across borders it can be met – and 2023 presents a suite of critical opportunities for meaningful global action.