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World Oceans Day: there is only "One health"

Covid-19 invites us to redefine health. Can we pretend to be healthy when we destroy biodiversity, when our plastic waste is ingested by marine animals before ending up on our plates? Today, Monday 8 June 2020, we celebrate World Oceans Day, the collective goods that we have a responsibility to protect and sustainably exploit the resources they offer us.


Greenpeace has created a sculpture of a dead whale in the Philippines to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

The oceans represent 71% of the Earth’s surface and nearly 97% of the total amount of water on the planet. Yet scientists are increasingly alarmed by the fact that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic waste are dumped each year, causing the death of 100,000 marine mammals.

The health of the Oceans and the health of Humans are interlinked. Our daily activities contribute to the pollution that chokes the oceans and impacts human health, which can cause fertility problems, growth disorders and hormonal disturbances.


From the importance of the Oceans…


On this International Day dedicated to them, it is essential to recall the essential role that oceans play in ecosystems. They are the lungs of our Earth because they provide 50% of the oxygen we breathe and contain 90% of the world’s biodiversity.

The oceans also protect us from global warming: 93% of the planet’s carbon is stored in the oceans. These carbon sinks are all the more indispensable as they are natural “coolers” that can prevent temperatures from rising by one or more degrees. It is estimated today that 30% of CO2 emissions due to human activities are absorbed by the oceans, i.e. 50 times more than in the atmosphere.

Finally, the oceans are at the centre of our economies through fishing, tourism, underwater research, maritime transport – their added value is $1.5 trillion – If the oceans were a country, they would rank 7th among the world’s economies.


… to the need to protect them


Our ecological debt continues to grow. In a webinar hosted to date by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI): Combatting marine plastic litter: state of play and perspectives, we are reminded of the need to understand the climate challenge through the prism of a systemic approach. It is urgent to set up binding legal instruments, at regional and international levels, that strengthen the coherence and coordination of existing initiatives, make producers and consumers more responsible and urge “extreme forms of collaboration”, said Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition.

The charter “My territory is committed: rivers without plastic, the oceans protected”

To fight global warming, adaptation measures will not be enough. Mitigation remains the only way to reduce our vulnerability. To restore life to our oceans, we must address the problem at its source. If the oceans and seas are unhealthy, then the rivers suffer first. Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers (IFGR) was born out of a desire to give a voice to these rivers. In collaboration with the Tara Océan Foundation and the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR), IAGF is calling for the candidates in the French municipal elections to take action for Plastic-free River. Attenuating the impacts of climate change requires strong political will. 


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