RISE UP - A Blue Call To Action

by Sam Collins - Oceano Azul Foundation

OCTOBER 28, 2020

We need the ocean.

And now,

the ocean needs us. 

Our ocean is incredible. 

Covering 71% of the planet it is the largest, continuous ecosystem on Earth, it supplies half of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs CO2 out of the atmosphere. As the planet’s air conditioning unit, the ocean regulates our climate and stores an estimated 90% of heat produced by anthropogenic activities over the last 40 years. Supplying food for billions and employment for many, it enables transport and provides us with renewable energy. If this wasn’t enough, the ocean’s living biomass and inorganic material constitutes the largest carbon store on Earth. 

In a nutshell, we need the ocean, and now, the ocean needs us. For too long humans have extracted from the ocean without giving it the chance to recover. The ocean is in crisis. A crisis that humans have caused and only humans can fix. From overfishing, ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, plastic pollution, and urbanisation of coastal areas, the ocean is struggling to cope. 

However, there is hope. There are solutions. But we only have 10 years to act. This is why a unique group of NGOs, foundations and Indigenous peoples and fisherfolk organisations came together to agree upon common priority actions that would set the ocean on a course to recovery. RISE UP literally spells out what must be done in six broad thematic area: 

   Restore ocean life

   Invest immediately in a net-zero carbon emissions future

   Speed the transition to a circular and sustainable blue economy

   Empower and support coastal people

   Unite for stronger global ocean governance

   Protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030

Over 400 organisations have rallied behind the 29 actions detailed within RISE UP that we are urging governments and businesses to build into their plans. With the full weight of the signatories, we aim to ensure decision makers make the changes that will deliver a healthy future for the ocean, planet and people. 

While RISE UP is not open for individuals to sign, we are calling on students to hold their institutions, local NGOs and local businesses accountable and urge them to RISE UP and be part of the solution. It is only by working collectively, across all sectors, that we can solve the problems facing the ocean today.

The ocean gives us more than just fun, food and fascination, it gives us life and we must work hard to protect it.