Will Seychelles president's underwater plea fall on deaf ears

In a remarkable speech delivered from deep under the surface of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles president called for the better protection of the world’s seas.

 |  5-minute read |   22-05-2019
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In his address from more than 400 feet below the surface of the ocean, the Seychelles president Danny Faure made a global plea for the stronger protection of the world’s oceans and seas

Saying that the sea had “a special relationship with all of us”, the president went on to call the water bodies the "beating blue heart of our planet.”  

“The ocean is huge, covering almost 70% of our planet, but we have managed to seriously impact this vast environment through climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, plastic and other pollution. The ocean keeps the planet alive, it keeps us alive, and it is clear to me that it is under threat like never before. We need decisive, coordinated, international action,” he said in his address.

During the live broadcast, President Faure could be seen dressed in salmon-coloured shorts and a T-shirt with the Seychelles flag giving his speech from a submersible craft that had dived to 406 feet off Desroches Island in Seychelles, part of a series of scientific missions to explore and protect the Indian Ocean. The president told The Associated Press after his speech that the experience was "so, so cool. What biodiversity". It made him more determined than ever to speak out for marine protection, he said. 

The speech is a part of the series of scientific expeditions, called First Descent, organised by Nekton — a nonprofit research institute, in collaboration with the University of Oxford. The Seychelles mission has included 75 dives so far and has created 3-D maps of the seabed from seven research sites, according to a statement issued by the Seychelles government.

main_danny-faure_sey_041619054016.jpgSeychelles President Danny Faure waves as he emerges from the ocean inside a submersible off the coast of Seychelles on April 14, 2019. (Photo: AP)

Seychelles Archipelago is a chain of islands off eastern Africa resting between Mauritius and Maldives. The Maldives is the worst affected of the island nations that face an existential threat from rising sea levels owing to climate change. According to the World Bank report, “with future sea levels projected to increase in the range of 10 to 100 centimetres by the year 2100, the entire country could be submerged.”

Seychelles is not too far behind in facing the perils, making the president’s speech is pertinent in the context. With the rising temperatures, these countries will be among the first to bear the incidental effects including the loss of fresh water, land erosion, dying coral reefs and the increased frequency of extreme weather events.

The global powers have gathered repeatedly for summit meetings on ways and means to reduce and mitigate carbon emissions and combat global warming. However, with no meaningful action in the foreseeable future, the island nations have been expressing increasing desperation.

But there is no point to the desperation as long as the politically powerful continue to deny climate change as a real phenomenon.

Also read: I don't believe you: Donald Trump, world's biggest climate change denier

Writer

Rajeshwari Ganesan Rajeshwari Ganesan @rajeshwaridotg

The author writes on wildlife, environment, gender issues, science, health, books and a host of other topics. A professional journalist and a passionate environmentalist. Former Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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