Volunteers from Greenpeace Manchester Group took part in a nationwide protest calling for the UK Government to ensure our oceans are off-limits to deep sea mining. Volunteers met at Deansgate and strolled along Manchester and its canal routes, stopping at Castlefield to take photographs of a home-made banner bearing their message.
These images, along with hundreds of others from across the country, will be sent directly to the Government to make it clear that people across the UK do not support plans to rip up the ocean floor for profit.
Courtney, a newly joined volunteer from Trafford said ‘On Saturday, the awesome team that is Manchester Greenpeace were finally able to do an outdoor activity to raise awareness about deep sea mining; we took photos with our home-made banner which read “STOP DEEP SEA MINING”, in a walk along some of Manchester’s canals.’
‘The deep sea might seem a world away from Manchester, but our Manchester Canals and port trading history tie us Manc’s to the seas. This year the UK hosts the UN climate negotiations, so we want to make our voices heard, and let the Government know we oppose the needless destruction of our oceans. We’re sending a message to the UK Government that they need to take ocean protection seriously, and end their support for deep sea mining.’
‘I’ve recently joined Manchester Greenpeace after feeling the urgent call to start taking action and hold those in positions of power accountable. Over lock-down I have joined the Manchester Greenpeace group online via zoom meetings and Ocean Witness watch parties. The research and education being provided is so valuable and I want everyone to have the opportunity to know and learn about the important stuff going on that isn’t always mentioned or given coverage in mainstream media.’
This nationwide banner protest is the latest step in the campaign to protect our oceans. Earlier this month, Manchester Greenpeace Group hosted online screenings of Greenpeace’s docu-series Ocean Witness, and hundreds of people tweeted the Foreign Office Minister Zac Goldsmith about the need for a strong Global Ocean Treaty. Greenpeace activists also recently held protests around the world, in the Pacific Ocean they displayed a banner in front of a ship chartered by DeepGreen, one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine this precious ecosystem. Volunteers simultaneously carried out a peaceful protest in San Diego, USA, targeting a ship chartered by Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). Then on 22nd April, activists again targeted GSR as they conducted deep sea mining tests, writing RISK in approximately 2 metre high letters across the side of the ship. During these tests, Greenpeace documented large patches of sediment rising to the surface, indicating significant disturbance to the sea bed.
Deep sea mining would involve sending huge industrial machinery to the fragile ecosystems in the depths of the oceans, many of which are less well understood than the surface of Mars. It would undermine the livelihoods of many people in Pacific Island communities, by threatening fish stocks, and risks disturbing carbon storage in the deep ocean. We need to protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030, and make sure governments urgently agree to a Global Ocean Treaty that can create a global network of ocean sanctuaries where marine life can thrive.
The Government’s review into deep sea mining will conclude in July. Despite the UK being a major player in this area, little is known about this murky industry. One of the three largest corporations who work on deep sea mining is UK Seabed Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of US weapons giant Lockheed Martin .
Instead of allowing the exploitation of our oceans, or unsustainable land-based mineral extraction, governments need to prioritize resource efficiency, and a transition to a circular economy, whereby resource usage is reduced and metals already in circulation are reused and recycled.
Courtney continued ‘Anyway, the important thing to note here is that what we actually need from the Government is for them to step away from any support or involvement with the handful of companies exploiting the deep sea for profit, and instead, prioritize reusing resources and moving to a sustainable, circular economy. I don’t want the phone I use, or the chips in my computer, or the batteries for electric cars to be sourced at the expense of destroying the Earth further, along with the beautiful ecosystems at bottom of the Ocean.’
‘Join us at our next Group meeting to hear more about our Protect the Oceans campaign, and how you can get involved.