The race to the oceans

“Blue Acceleration” : that’s how we could have titled our cover story this week, like that new scientist, which dedicated its front page to the oceans in April. It is the main article of this issue, which we translated and published on the occasion of the second UN Conference on the Oceans, held in Lisbon from June 27th to 1stah July. Its aim: to strengthen action for the oceans based on science and innovation.

Due to events in the United States (the Supreme Court’s crackdown on abortion rights), we have decided to delay the publication of this dossier. It’s no less relevant. Humanity faces one “Marine Emergency”, explained in particular António Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, in Lisbon. And there is indeed cause for concern, reminds us New scientist.

The expression “Blue Acceleration”, explains the newspaper, refers to the effects of the rapidly increasing exploitation of resources by humans in recent years and its effects on biodiversity and the environment. gold “The ocean concentrates many hopes and expectations, as a new economic frontier and as the engine of future human development,” produces one of the many researchers cited by Science Information Magazine.

“The economy of the seas is worth $1,700 billion, almost half of which comes from offshore production of oil and polluting gases ($830 billion [790 milliards d’euros] per year), followed by the construction of ship equipment, fishing and container transport”, more details of the article from New scientist.

“In this list, the sustainable industries of tomorrow are almost invisible.”

This is one of the many issues raised by the magazine. Deep-sea mining, industrial fishing, maritime transport… For thirty years, the often anarchic development of human activity has wreaked havoc in an environment where there is little regulation. The economy of the sea is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a “handful of companies” All located in six countries – the United States, Saudi Arabia, China, Norway, France and the United Kingdom – investments in sustainable projects are rare.

It’s about time that changed, he wants to believe new scientist, which calls for more regulation. But there are reasons for hope. Seventy countries have agreed “To protect 30% of land, freshwater and oceans by 2030”. It’s a start. Protected marine areas are proliferating all over the world, like in the microstate of Niue, in the Pacific or in the Dominican Republic… An article not to be missed.

In a very different register, but still about the oceans, on page 360 ​​of this issue we begin a new series “Histoires de mer” (after our summer “Voyage en France”), the first part of which largely reflects the themes in charged to the case. But in a completely different tone.

A journalist from The time went to theElizabeth Mann-Borgese, a research ship that bears the name of a long-unknown pioneer of marine research: the daughter of the great German writer Thomas Mann.

A fun trip to the Baltic Sea, rocked by the writings of a father who loved the sea so much: “The sea is present on every page of his writings, writes the author. The sea is a place that evokes nostalgia, where we surrender, where we become one with nature and the past.”

But the true discovery of this article is actually Elisabeth Mann Borgese, who dedicated her life to the oceans. “But a drunkenness, less poetic and tied to the past than political, utopian, open to the future”, write again The time, Admiration for this visionary whose work has significantly inspired the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

According to the German weekly newspaper, at the end of her life she would have said:

“Today’s realists are tomorrow’s dead. And today’s utopians are tomorrow’s realists.

A portrait worth reading.

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