Ottawa—August 10, 2020: The collapse of Canada’s largest ice sheet, the 4,000-year-old Milne ice shelf, should be setting off alarm bells everywhere. Our world is fast losing the air conditioner that stabilizes the whole global climate system: Arctic ice.
As 43 percent of the ice sheet broke into pieces at the end of July, Tropical Storm Isaias (TSI) became the earliest ninth named storm on record. Isaias proceeded to hammer the Caribbean, U.S. East Coast and Southern Canada with rain and fierce winds, killing eleven and leaving millions without power.
Scientists say the Atlantic hurricane season will be more dangerous than ever, with a predicted total of as many as twenty-five hurricanes or tropical storms—meaning more storms than we have names for, something that has not happened since the devastating 2005 hurricane season that brought Katrina and Wilma before ending with Epsilon in the dead of winter. How many more people must lose their livelihoods, homes, and lives to extreme weather before we correct the course we’re on?
This summer, temperatures in the Arctic region have been especially hot at 5C above the 30-year average. Both glacial ice and sea ice have been melting at a precipitous pace.
According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice is at the lowest level ever recorded for this time of year. The loss of the ice means increasingly harsh and devastating weather conditions worldwide. The Arctic ice acts like a mirror, reflecting most of the sun’s energy back to outer space.
But because the mirror is breaking, more heat is being absorbed into the Earth and oceans instead. Our world’s air conditioner is turning into a warming kettle. The warmer the ocean temperatures, the warmer the air, and the stronger the hurricanes which feed off the heat. To mitigate the intensity of future hurricanes and other global crises related to unstable weather, it is critical to protect the Arctic Ocean.
The all-volunteer Parvati Foundation has responded by creating the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) Treaty. The MAPS Treaty, which updates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, establishes the Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle as the largest marine protected area in history—free from commercial fishing, natural resource exploitation, seismic testing, military activity and through-shipping traffic, which all damage the already threatened ice.
The Treaty was translated into the six official UN languages and distributed to the heads of government of the 193 member nations of the UN for their formal endorsement. Two world leaders have already signed.
“The world’s weather patterns are inherently interconnected, as is all life,” says the Canadian musician, educator and author Parvati, Founder and CEO of Parvati Foundation.
“Uncountable souls now hang in the balance as we continue to allow exploitation of the critical and vulnerable Arctic Ocean. Everyone has the right to know this is a global emergency and that another way is possible. The world must come together to support MAPS immediately,” adds Parvati.
Citizens of all nations are urged to sign and share the MAPS petition at https://parvati.org, and to call on their governments to endorse the MAPS Treaty for the good of all.
Why do we need MAPS?
· The Arctic Ocean ice is our planet’s air conditioning system. It balances weather patterns globally so that we have the food and resources we need to survive.
· The white ice reflects 50% of the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere. But it is melting fast. – There is now 75% less summer ice in the Arctic Ocean than there was 50 years ago. The open ocean absorbs 90% of the sun’s rays, and today parts of the Arctic Ocean are now 4º C too hot.
· The Arctic Ocean is under threat as never before by corporations and governments that seek to profit from the unprecedented loss of ice.
· We are inherently and inescapably interconnected. What happens in the Arctic Ocean affects all life on Earth. We must act now to protect it.
Why MAPS now?
· All life on Earth depends on healthy, robust sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. But it’s in more danger than ever.
· As the ice melts at a staggering rate, businesses and governments are moving to take advantage of the Arctic Ocean’s resources for short-term gain for a few, instead of protecting this vulnerable, climate-regulating region for the benefit of all. This is a deadly error.
· We must realize MAPS now to lead the way to a healthy and safe future for all.
How is MAPS realized?
· MAPS is being realized through the MAPS Treaty, an addendum to the UN Law of the Sea.
· Under MAPS, the entire Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle will become an international peace park, free from exploitation of all kinds.
· The MAPS Treaty enters into force with the signatures of 99 world leaders, including those of the Arctic nations.
· Two nations to date have signed the MAPS Treaty and more signatures are expected soon.
What does MAPS permit in the Arctic Ocean?
· Scientific investigation
· Local subsistence fishing
· Observation and inspection
What does MAPS stop in the Arctic Ocean?
· Natural resource exploitation
· Seismic testing for oil and gas
· Commercial fishing
· Through-shipping traffic
· Military activity
Why is MAPS relevant during the coronavirus pandemic?
· MAPS has been acting on what COVID-19 is now teaching the world: what happens in one part affects the whole.
· COVID-19 is here because of our collective disconnect and our broken relationship with Nature, ourselves, each other and the world.
· There are thousands of people dying every single day from pollution and starvation. COVID-19 is waking us up to the damage we were already doing so that we can take responsibility for it.