World Maritime Day

September 24 2020

Opinion article

Today, 24th of September we celebrate the UN-World Maritime day by raising awareness to the importance of sustainable shipping industry. To highlight the day, we wish to share Lia Magalhães´ global activism deed, as it illustrates some of the work done in maritime sustainability. In her article, the recently elected form 12 Prefect, really showcases her true Clipper spirit. The fact that it occurred during social confinement period adds even more value. 

 

Read it below

We all hear a lot how the ocean connects us all but what amazed me was to witness how true this is - all around the world.

Have you ever heard the saying "everything happens for a reason"?

Well, the same applies to this last lockdown.

 

Trying to make the best use of this opportunity to do different things, I attended the UN’s online World Oceans Day broadcast on the 8th of June. While I watched it, I kept note of some of the organisations that spoke and sent them emails - not thinking they would ever reply. I got a response from an organisation called Underwater Earth; a registered Australian charity based in Sydney established in 2010 intending to reveal the ocean to the world using creative storytelling combined with innovative technology. This amazing team was behind the interesting projects like Google Street View underwater, they created the SVII camera and led the XL Catlin Seaview Survey. Extending from their work which can be seen in the documentary ‘Chasing Coral’, they developed the 50Reefs conservation project.

 

In my email, I asked what a young student passionate about the ocean and our planet could do to contribute to their project - figuring that, if I had to stay stuck at home, at least I could have an impact from the comfort of my sofa. I was very lucky that, by coincidence, they needed help!

 

The 50 Reefs initiative was established in early 2017 with the ambitious goal of identifying a global portfolio of coral reefs with a good chance of both surviving the impacts of climate change (1.5ºC above the pre-industrial) as well as being sufficiently close and hence connected enough, to help repopulate neighbouring reefs. The project culminated in June 2018 with the establishment of a global portfolio of coral reefs anticipating climate-related risks called Bioclimatic Units (BCUs). The 50Reefs Project focuses on working towards the conservation of those coral reefs that, in the absence of local pressures, have the greatest potential to survive climate change being well-positioned to help repopulate surrounding coral reefs. Their aim is in their own words “to reduce the global risk of widespread coral reef ecosystem collapse by guiding long-term conservation efforts at a global scale, providing a climate-smart framework for strategic incremental investment and conservation action.”

 

Each coral reef zone that presented similar resistance characteristics was classified as a BCU (like a marine protected area - but slightly different). For each BCU, I’d get a map of the location of each area and I had to research as many NGOs, projects and initiatives working there, and then compile all the information, actions and contacts into an Excel sheet. This information was then used by 50Reefs in their final reports, where they had to propose actions and efforts for each BCU. I also added areas of concern or possible improvement in each BCU.

 

Initially, I helped one of the co-founders in Australia with her research, more precisely Timor-Leste, Singapore, Cuba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Central, East and West Indonesia. Then, after I finished those, I was asked to help another co-founder in South Africa, searching the BCUs around the Red Sea - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Djibouti, Eritrea, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. 

 

This was an amazing opportunity, both academically and personally. Not only I got to learn cultures and geography, I learned so much about so many implications in corals and their current situations. The team answered my queries, curiosities, I watched the documentaries ‘Chasing Ice’ and ‘Chasing Coral’, I learned about coral reproduction and attended webinars in Spanish about the SCTLD in Puerto Rico, a Peace Boat broadcast, Wildflower Live Walks in Singapore, and a Marine Stewards Live in Singapore, as well as a Singapore Talk & Trivia. 

 

We all hear a lot how the ocean connects us all but what amazed me was to witness how true this is - all around the world. All the hope that these organisations have and the work and persistence they put into these actions make a difference. And for sure, I got a new respect for corals and their reefs. They are the buildings and skyscrapers of the ocean. (And Nemo’s home). 

 

I truly advise anyone interested to get involved in these types of initiatives there is a lot of work to be completed and it is only an email away. You will know that you are making a difference on this planet.

slider-1
slider-2
slider-3
slider-4
slider-5

World Maritime Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for creating a legal framework, to both reflect on the accomplishments and the urgent innovative steps still needed towards a sustainable future. They aim to develop measures that work on aspects like cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil, implementing the Ballast Water Management Convention, protecting the polar regions, protecting coral reefs, reducing marine litter, improving the efficiency of shipping through the electronic exchange of information, meeting the challenges of the digitalization of shipping and enhancing the participation of women in the maritime community.

World Maritime Day