‘Manchester Blue Talk’

We are very aware that our oceans are badly polluted. Plastic is one of the main culprits. Actually, humans are the main culprits! Sea animals, fish, etc die because of plastic pollution. Hence, the importance of taking our rubbish home after a day at the beach or other sea activity we are engaged in … writes The Very Revd Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester

On 29 March I hosted an afternoon conference entitled ‘Manchester Blue Talk’ which focused on the well being of the world’s oceans. You may wonder why this was held in a city like Manchester which is not exactly on the coast. It is extremely important to note that all of life and every bit of our planet and beyond the planet are connected. I am not a  scientist but I do enjoy fishing on the shores of the sea and am very aware of the impact of the moon on the tides! This has a huge impact on my catch, or lack of it!

Just as the different phases of the Moon has an impact on the earth in terms of seasons and the ocean tides, etc. one part of the planet impacts on another. One part of the universe impacts on other parts. Everything is connected. All of life is connected. Our oceans affect each one of us in terms of carbon absorption and this has a direct impact on the atmosphere.

The oceans cover 70% of the surface of the earth and it is our planet’s largest biosphere. It is home to about 80 % of all life in the world. The oceans produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs 25% of all carbo dioxide emissions. It is not only the lungs of the planet but also its largest carbon sink. Experts tell us that the ocean is one of the most important allies against climate change.

We are very aware that our oceans are badly polluted. Plastic is one of the main culprits. Actually, humans are the main culprits! Sea animals, fish, etc die because of plastic pollution. Hence, the importance of taking our rubbish home after a day at the beach or other sea activity we are engaged in.

Experts tell us that the ocean is facing ‘’unprecedented threats that must be addressed now. From ocean warming and over-exploitation of marine resources we have so much to do to preserve the oceans. We are being asked to take every tangible action to protect the state of our ocean’s ecology, economy and security’’.

Given the issue of rising sea levels, there are about 11% of the world population that live in low coastal areas. We recently witnessed the damage on the Welsh coast when severe storms battered the coastal areas. Homes get destroyed and people have to move from their homes.

People from the Solomon Islands are experiencing profound loss and damage from climate change every day. The Solomon Islands, like many other Pacific Island countries, have made the tiniest of contributions to global warming, and the climate change and sea level rise that have resulted. ‘’Yet we wake up to face the negative impacts every single day. And science tells us things are going to get worse: locked-in emissions set an unavoidable course of warming that will lead to sea-level rises at an unrelenting pace for years to come, as well as temperature rises and ocean acidification’’.

In June this year the United Nations Ocean Conference, co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya will be held in Portugal. The Manchester conference (amongst others) is a build up to the international conference and is one way of raising awareness amongst us. Let us play our small part in raising awareness about the importance of the wellbeing of the oceans, not least because we are an island country and we all have a stake in its future and its wellbeing.

May the Almighty Creator give us wisdom in our stewardship and care of the universe and in particular the oceans of our world.

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