If you picked up your phone to call for urgent help because your house was burning down, you wouldn’t expect a formulaic, bureaucratic response like, “Thank you for sharing your concerns. I have forwarded a copy of your message to my colleague for their consideration.”
But the reality is that our world is in a state of emergency today and an apathetic response is status quo from governments everywhere.
The Arctic sea ice, our planet’s air conditioner, is melting at an alarming rate. Its loss is already having severe effects on the stability of weather around the world, leading to natural disasters, floods, droughts and crop failures. This underreported global humanitarian crisis has been unfolding and under-reported for years. Alarmed scientists and activists have been met with complacency, and incontrovertible data has been continually downplayed and denied. But the effects are intensifying rapidly. If we do not protect our climate’s linchpin, it will soon lead to mass food shortages and sea level rise that will redraw the map of the world and result in staggering loss of life, land, food and water.
Common government replies to urgent outreach on this issue include:
– “Please know that your message is appreciated.”
– “We are glad to hear about your work.”
– “We have forwarded your message to another department.”
– “We already participate in global environmental discussions.”
– “We are already taking action on the environment in another way.”
– “We suggest you follow up with a different governing body.”
– “Please know that we take environmental protection seriously.”
Not content with the apathy that leads to widespread devastation and loss of life, Parvati.org’s all-volunteer staff has been working tirelessly on a shoestring, self-funded budget for an urgently needed solution to protect all life on Earth. There is no more time to defer responsibility for the Arctic Ocean or to claim that any other environmental initiative makes a nation somehow exempt from taking action to safeguard this critical and vulnerable ecosystem. There is no more time to wait for advisory councils, whose primary allegiance is to the status quo, to decide to commit unwaveringly to the protection our world needs.
Where media has moved on, Parvati.org’s voice is unwavering. Where advisory councils fall short of their mandate, Parvati.org continues to call for responsibility. International law has left a gap the size of the Arctic Circle in that protection. That is why Parvati.org has stepped in by creating the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) Treaty as an addendum to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The scientific community understands the importance of MAPS. Dr. Jane Goodall says, “It is hugely important to establish the proposed Sanctuary.” Dr. Sylvia Earle says MAPS is “an idea whose time has come”. Other MAPS supporters include Peter Neill of World Ocean Observatory and Dr. Roger Payne of Ocean Alliance.
Current and former heads of state agree. The Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi of Samoa has signed the MAPS Treaty, saying “Small island states like Samoa which are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change see MAPS as a realizable solution to addressing pivotal climate change issues.” Former Seychelles president James Michel says, “The Arctic—no matter where we come from and where we live—is the common heritage of all humans. Its fate and future have serious consequences for all of us, not least for Small Island Developing States.”
The fate of the Arctic Ocean reflects the actions of the entire world and affects all life on Earth. It is incumbent on all people and every single nation of the world to take immediate action to protect it. Yet, Parvati.org now has a stack of replies from government bureaucrats all over the world with platitudes and dismissals. In most cases, when Parvati.org volunteers meet with a minister or head of government after these letters are sent to them, they discover that the minister was never even given the communications about MAPS.
Correspondence officials, who are making the decision to treat a global emergency as just another item to file, must carefully consider the responsibility they have to their leaders, to their people and to all life on Earth.
Citizens everywhere need to raise their voices in letters and phone calls, tweets and media appearances, to demand action. Don’t let the fate of generations to come rest in apathetic hands, stuck in bureaucratic red tape.
And government leaders around the world must stop hiding behind the idea that the health of the Arctic sea ice is someone else’s problem. Today, the only way is swift, immediate and decisive action. When will world leaders be leaders and sign the MAPS Treaty?
Parvati.org is a not-for-profit dedicated to a healthy world. Its first order
of business is the realization of MAPS: the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary,
an effective step to cool our planet and keep our oceans alive.