Why is the Arctic so special and how can we help?
"The Arctic is among the most spectacularly beautiful places on the planet—and one of the most remote. People have made their homes in this harsh region for millennia, and residents of Arctic coastal communities continue to rely on a healthy ocean to sustain a traditional way of life and as a vital source of food security.
The Arctic is also home to animals found nowhere else on Earth. Where else can you find the longest living vertebrate on the planet (the 400-year old Greenland shark), the unicorn of the sea (the narwhal), and the colorful Spectacled Eider?
In fact, there’s an abundance of wildlife in the Arctic Ocean—including some of the most iconic animals in the world. Polar bears prowl the ice looking for ringed seals. Pacific walruses, too, call the Arctic home. They dive from ice floes and use their sensitive whiskers to locate mollusks on the ocean floor.
A variety of whales swim in Arctic waters, including communicative beluga whales and enormous bowhead whales, which can live over 200 years. Gray whales undertake an epic migration—up to 12,000 miles round-trip—to spend summers in highly productive Arctic marine habitats.
One of the greatest marine migrations on the planet flows through the Bering Strait to reach the Arctic Ocean every year. We are only beginning to understand how rich and diverse the Arctic Ocean region is, and how important this area of the world is to the communities who live there and the planet."
But because of climate change, the arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe and with the diminishing sea ice opens new opportunity.
For the first time ever, there exists the possibility of cargo traffic through Arctic sea routes that were previously unnavigable. The draw is decreased transit times compared to traditional routes. While not yet a regular service offered by ocean container carriers, transit through the Northeast Passage is a very real possibility. Test voyages completed by some ocean carriers and studies estimate the Northern Sea Route could be used for approximately 8% of total container trade between Asia and Europe by 2030, increasing to ~10% of such trade by 2050. We do not have to accept that outcome.
The science is clear. Even with regulation, substantial and irreversible risk to the environment exists in the form of oil spills, emissions, vessel strikes, noise pollution and invasive species, which not only impact marine life, but also the human populations that rely on a healthy Arctic ecosystem for their livelihood. Beyond that, it’s estimated that carbon emissions from shipping via the Northeastern Passage would be significantly higher due to the need for smaller, less efficient vessels and increased fuel requirements.
Several Companies have joined the Ocean Conservancy to make a commitment to not intentionally allow their products to be shipped on vessels via any Arctic sea route. This
Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge (“Pledge”) can be signed by any companies and has already be signed by Nike, Bestseller, Columbia, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Kering, Li & Fung, PVH Corp., and ocean carriers CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company.
And because some countries like US are already on the lookout to expand the offshore drilling, it's important for us, as citizens to sign this pledge:
Have a look at ocean conservancy where this article come from
and here are some extras videos to dream about the Arctic :