In this week’s episode of “EARTH A New Wild,” my colleague M. Sanjayan visits Papua New Guinea, the Bahamas, the Sea of Cortez and New York City to spotlight just a few of the ways people are interacting with our oceans.
Humans have always depended on the “blue” covering most of our planet. Yet only recently have we become more aware of the magnitude of our impacts — and realized what we must do to conserve and be able to continue to benefit from these waters.
Case in point: In January, the deadlock at the United Nations about how to manage the high seas was finally broken. The U.N. agreed to begin a two-year process to discuss the elements of a legally binding agreement on the high seas, or areas beyond national jurisdiction, which are the waters beyond 200 nautical miles [370 kilometers] from the coastline. They will report back to the U.N. General Assembly by the end of 2017.
Setting up a process for discussion may not sound like much progress, but for an organization of 193 member states that often moves at a glacial pace, it is a sign that oceans have moved up the agenda of international affairs. Continue reading