As the climate crisis grows, there is a growing movement among international lawyers, environmentalists and world leaders who say that ecocide — the widespread destruction of the environment — would serve as a “moral red line” for the planet.

by Nicholas Kusnetz, Katie Surma and Yuliya Talmazan

This article first appeared in Inside Climate News on April 7, 2021

In 1948, after Nazi Germany exterminated millions of Jews and other minorities during World War II, the United Nations adopted a convention establishing a new crime so heinous it demanded collective action. Genocide, the nations declared, was “condemned by the civilized world” and justified intervention in the affairs of sovereign states.

Now, a small but growing number of world leaders including Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron have begun citing an offense they say poses a similar threat to…


An encyclopedic catalog for Nature as a way to provide guidance and explanations for how life works

In the coming weeks we are exploring some simple strategies for living on and with the Earth: fresh approaches, new technologies, novel ideas, and viable alternatives in an oceanic flow, introducing examples of ingenuity, invention, possibility and systematic engagement with the ocean.

One of the most revolutionary events of the modern era was the discovery of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, defined “as a molecule composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and RNA, its single-stranded…


How to simplify our strategy for living

In the coming weeks we will explore some simple strategies for living on and with the Earth: fresh approaches, new technologies, novel ideas, and viable alternatives in an oceanic flow, introducing examples of ingenuity, invention, possibility and systematic engagement with the ocean.

Observing the ocean is to look for systems, myriad details in flux, be it animal, vegetable, or data number, a microscopic part of a complex unit, each unit again a part of a system more complex. …


The new Blue Economy is falling prey to the “business as usual” operations of The Ocean 100 — the largest trans-national companies that account for the most profits from the ocean while also generating the most emissions, waste and other pollutants to the ocean. Current economic activity is not meeting the requirements for economic growth and improved livelihoods while simultaneously preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem, though the Ocean 100 companies could be a force for change of the Blue Economy with help from public awareness and consumer pressure.

Definition One: The Blue Economy, according to the World Bank


Ten declarations that the ocean is the essential place for us to imagine, implement and design a sustainable future for humankind.

Throughout this BLUEprint series we have been discussing the ocean’s value, specifically through the prism of ecosystem service analysis, an approach that assesses process and projects though an inclusive accounting of profit and lost beyond operative GDP-limited calculations of value.

What is the natural capital value of our human connection to the Ocean?

Here are ten declarations to review:

1) The Ocean is a conveyor and determinate of climate worldwide through currents and winds that circulate its benefits to every place on Earth with measurable consequence. …


Expand the Commons to Include Everything We Need

by Vandana Shiva

This article originally appeared Feb 16, 2021 in Yes! Magazine as part of their “In Depth: What an Ecological Civilization Looks Like” series

Wikemedia Commons | German Aerospace Center

The path to an ecological civilization is paved by reclaiming the commons — our common home, the Earth, and the commons of the Earth family, of which we are a part. Through reclaiming the commons, we can imagine possibility for our common future, and we can sow the seeds of abundance through “commoning.”

In the commons, we care and share — for the Earth and each other. We are conscious of nature’s ecological limits…


Environmental Accounting for a Sustainable Future

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs recently announced a new statistical framework entitled the “System of Environmental/Economic Accounting” (SEEA EA) which would ensure that natural capital (the contributions of forests, oceans, and other ecosystems) are integrated into economic reporting. This move may reshape decision- and policy-making toward sustainable development: natural capital calculated as equal to financial capital, as a mandatory inclusion in the budgets and estimates for all new development projects and corporate initiatives.

The ocean is an infinite oscillation of movement and volume that is interrupted by the hard edge of shore. We are drawn to places…


By Peter Neill

…It is as if Covidia is not just a state of despair, but is rather a state of restoration and connection with the best of living, private and public. When we understand the contribution of skill and dedication of front-line health workers, stories of the generosity of strangers, the resilience of families and communities, we acknowledge and affirm the strength and perseverance of so many among us, at home and abroad.

In the first chapter of Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov writes, “I see the awakening of consciousness as a series of spaced flashes, with the intervals between…


The extraction of rare metals, the push for mining permits on land and sea, the waste and by-product, the emissions, and the collateral damage to the environment is all reminiscent of the fossil fuel paradigm. Is this old strategy, dressed in new clothing, a mistake?

Hydrothermal vent extraction (Image © Nautilus Minerals)

The battery is the new energy panacea, the new oil, and the search for rare metals is another example of the old extraction thinking driving similar extraction efforts in deep sea mining. In order to power our myriad communications and computation devices, magnified by the ascendant arrival of electric vehicles, the rush to discover and…


The state of coral reefs in the Chagos Archipelago: the last frontier

The Khaled Bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) embarked on the Global Reef Expedition (GRE) to assess the state of coral reefs around the world. This ambitious five-year scientific mission was designed to evaluate the status of the benthic and reef fish communities, assess the impact of anthropogenic and natural disturbances on coral reef ecosystems, and provide communities with the findings so they can inform marine conservation and management plans. The Global Reef Expedition mission to the Chagos Archipelago in 2015 allowed an international team of scientists to study some of the most remote and undisturbed coral reefs in the world. When the expedition began, the coral reefs in the Chagos Archipelago were stunning, with high live coral cover and an astounding abundance of fish. However, towards the end of the research mission, KSLOF scientists witnessed the beginning of what would become a catastrophic mass global bleaching event, illustrating that negative human impacts reach even the most isolated and well-protected coral reefs on Earth. The full report can be read and downloaded here.

In the middle of the Indian Ocean lies some of the last coral reef wilderness on Earth. The Chagos Archipelago, a collection of atolls, including Earth’s largest — the Great Chagos Bank — is home to reefs that have been largely undisturbed by humans for the last 50 years. Some estimates indicate the Chagos Archipelago may contain more than half of the healthy coral reefs remaining in the entire Indian Ocean. These reefs are protected both by their remote location, and in one of the world’s largest no-take marine reserves — the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) marine protected area.

World Ocean Observatory

Dedicated to sharing information about ocean issues: climate to trade, culture to governance. The sea connects all things. Online at WorldOceanObservatory.org.

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