On Sunday, President Danny Faure of Seychelles made a passionate plea to protect the world's oceans. He made the plea from underwater in a submersible craft that had dived to 406 feet off Desroches Island in Seychelles as part of a series of scientific missions known as 'First Descent' to explore and protect the Indian Ocean.
“It keeps the planet alive, it keeps us alive, and it is clear to me that it is under threat like never before,” he said of the ocean.
President Faure's words are very significant, not only for his own country but for the entire world. Very few leaders take climate change seriously and are willing to take climate action. Seychelles being an island nation puts it especially at risk of sinking due to rising sea levels as a result of man-made climate change.
The country consists of about 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya. It is beautiful, so beautiful that it's been compared with the Garden of Eden. Most of its economy is based on tourism, with its picturesque beaches, marine life, and colourful culture attracting numerous tourists. Even Prince William and Duchess Kate went on honeymoon there. And yet, Seychelles' glorious reign is at risk due to climate change. Aside to the ever-present threat of sinking, the country also faces the loss of freshwater, land erosion, dying coral reefs and the increased frequency of extreme weather events.
To the island nation of Seychelles, climate change poses an existential crisis like no other. Climate change could essentially wipe the country off the map. And while major players on the world stage have gathered for several meetings to discuss climate change and its effects, little has been done about it and island nations like Seychelles continue to face an ever-increasing existential threat that they will bear the brunt of.
“The ocean is huge, covering almost 70% of our planet, but we have managed to seriously impact this vast environment through climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, plastic and other pollution,” Mr Faure said, adding, “We need decisive, coordinated, international action.”
First Descent, organized by Nekton, a nonprofit research institute, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, so far has included 75 submersible dives, 300 science deployments, and the use of 21 different research technologies. President Faure says these efforts show the importance of conserving our oceans.
Header Image Credit: Telegraph UK