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Four Ocean Victories of 2020

2020 has been fairly a yr. We’ve confronted a world pandemic, a contentious election, worsening local weather change impacts and unprecedented financial and social challenges. Issues have been exhausting, and proceed to be exhausting, for households and communities all over the world.

However regardless of all of that—and because of all of that—we have now seen unbelievable examples of compassion, love and resilience. We’ve seen folks carrying masks to guard one another, ready in lengthy strains to train their proper to vote and rallying for the rights of Black, Indigenous and folks of shade.

We’ve additionally seen nice wins for our ocean. I’m in awe of those that have continued to advocate for our ocean all through this making an attempt yr, together with my great colleagues at Ocean Conservancy and devoted supporters such as you. That is no small feat, particularly contemplating the anti-ocean and anti-climate insurance policies pushed by the present president and his administration.

Please be part of us in celebrating among the largest ocean wins of 2020.

Pebble Mine rejected

This fall, the Military Corp of Engineers denied an important allow, which hopefully ends the longstanding effort to develop an enormous gold and copper mine in one of the necessary and spectacular locations on earth. The Pebble Mine would have been constructed on the headwaters of Bristol Bay, which is residence to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. Almost 60 million sockeye are caught in Bristol Bay annually, and the thriving industrial fishery helps greater than 140,000 jobs. The realm has been residence to Yup’ik, Aluti’iq and Dena’ina peoples since time immemorial, and the salmon, animals, berries and quite a few different sources of the area are each a vital a part of this ecosystem and a key supply of meals and subsistence fishing. Regardless of a conclusion by the earlier administration that the mine would trigger irreversible injury to the ecosystem and the communities that depend on it, the Trump administration reversed this discovering and solid forward. Your voice in help of Bristol Bay mattered—greater than 700,000 folks, together with Ocean Conservancy supporters, opposed the mine. In the end, even the Trump administration was pressured to conclude {that a} mine on this space can be “opposite to the general public curiosity.”

Arctic Ocean leases given up

In April, the Arctic Slope Regional Company (ASRC) relinquished the 21 leases it held within the Beaufort Sea, within the Arctic Ocean. The relinquishment of these leases introduced almost to an in depth a exceptional story in a exceptional place. From 2003-2009, the federal authorities bought 727 leases protecting 4.1 million acres to grease corporations to discover and develop the Arctic Ocean. Indigenous peoples use the Arctic Ocean for subsistence looking, and these areas are necessary for whales, polar bears and different iconic wildlife already threatened by local weather change and are distant—there can be no strategy to clear up a significant spill. Ocean Conservancy and others opposed the leasing and proposed drilling, and over the previous a number of years, Shell and different corporations have exited the Arctic. With ASRC’s relinquishment, solely 13 of the 727 leases stay. Transferring ahead, we have now the chance to stop one other cycle of leasing and improvement and to maintain the Arctic off-limits to dangerous leasing and drilling.

Combating for Trash Free Seas

The pandemic impacted all of us, and altered the best way we work—particularly our Worldwide Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Shutdowns had been applied all over the world proper as our ICC staff was gearing up for a season of in-person cleanups. However all over the world, volunteers and ocean lovers joined collectively to #CleanOn, collaborating in solo or socially distant cleanups. Disposable masks and gloves had been discovered all around the world, with scientists estimating that we’re utilizing 129 BILLION masks each month. Keep tuned for a report from us subsequent spring on complete quantities of non-public protecting gear discovered in the course of the 2020 ICC season. Given the challenges this yr, and the truth that trash and plastic had been seen in all our lives in new and sobering methods, it meant much more that there have been main victories within the combat for trash and plastic-free seas:

  • In 2020, we welcomed our first cohort of cities into the City Ocean Initiative, primarily based in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Panama. This can be a pivotal step within the problem to scale back plastic waste from cities.
  • The Save Our Seas Act was signed into regulation. This invoice establishes ocean plastic air pollution as a coverage precedence for the U.S. authorities. This laws addresses vital infrastructure wants, helps fill key information gaps and directs america to change into a world chief in plastic air pollution discount and prevention. We’re so appreciative of ocean advocates like YOU who requested your Senators to help marine particles laws and are wanting ahead to taking the following legislative steps

Environmental nonprofits and others step up within the combat for variety and inclusion

For us, like for a lot of, 2020 introduced a long-overdue reflection round our position within the combat for justice, fairness variety and inclusion. We acknowledge that for too lengthy we have now been absent, and {that a} simply and equitable future requires way more from us. The well being of individuals and our ocean are inexplicably linked, and we are able to’t deal with one subject with out the opposite. I’m grateful to all these dedicated to integrating justice, fairness, variety and inclusion of their work, and sit up for persevering with this combat in 2021 and past. I’m thrilled to announce that we not too long ago launched our seek for a vice chairman for Justice and Fairness—study extra right here.

From all of us, I want you and your family members a contented, wholesome and secure New 12 months. Please keep secure, put on a masks and be part of us refreshed and renewed in 2021.

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