Did you know, the ocean absorbs 25-30 percent of annual CO2 emissions that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere and increase global warming? Not only that, but ocean ecosystems are also home to an almost unimaginable diversity of wildlife, and provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people the world over.
But the complex web of marine life, needed for oceans to fulfil these functions, is under threat from climate change, pollution, and overfishing. All of these things strip the ocean of life, which has devastating consequences for the planet’s biodiversity, climate and communities. In fact:
- Over a third of marine mammals and a third of reef-forming corals are threatened with extinction.
- 90% of large predatory fish, such as sharks, tuna, marlin, and swordfish, are gone.
- Nearly 90% of the world's fisheries—the sites in which the fish we eat is caught—are already fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse.
That’s why the protection of these ‘blue carbon ecosystems’ - like mangroves, seagrass meadows and saltmarsh - is so vital. They have the potential to remove and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and to support the world's resilience against climate change impacts by providing natural buffers against storm surges, sea-level rise and erosion.
This is why we’re in partnership with marine conservation experts, Blue Marine Foundation. Together with our fellow travel companies, we intend to donate at least £1 million (roughly USD$1.25 million at current exchange rates) over the next three years, with an aim to support the conservation and restoration of 7,000 hectares of vital marine ecosystems, through seven projects which span the globe.
Through a combination of conservation, ecosystem restoration, research and community engagement, each project seeks to address the climate and biodiversity crisis in different ways, empowering and engaging local communities:
The Maldives: Restoring mangroves and seagrass for climate mitigation and resilience
Kenya: Restoring Mida-Creek’s mangrove forests
Indonesia: Community-led restoration of Indonesia’s extraordinary blue forests
The Caribbean: Restoring blue carbon habitats and protecting unique marine ecosystems
Greece: A blue carbon approach to saving Greek seas
Formentera: Safeguarding the future of ancient seagrass meadows
Philippines: Restoring abandoned aquaculture ponds to productive mangrove forests
These protected “blue carbon ecosystems” have the potential to remove and store thousands of tonnes of carbon every year. They will also help protect a rich diversity of coastal and underwater wildlife, including endangered species.
Our support will also enable the training and employment of local communities in marine conservation, helping ensure these beautiful places are preserved for generations.
*TCS World Travel is a member of the Travelopia group of travel companies which has come together to partner with Blue Marine Foundation.