Captain Paul Watson, MAPS, Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary

What If the Arctic Was Key to Our Survival? (It Is!)

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Greenpeace founder Captain Paul Watson, previously profiled in Parvati Magazine, has officially joined leaders like renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and revered oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in endorsing MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary.

Watson’s passion for marine conservation has been acknowledged with several awards over the years, including being recognized by Time Magazine in 2000 as one of the environmental heroes of the 20th century. He remains an outspoken advocate for marine mammals – whales, seals, dolphins – around the world.

MAPS is the only global initiative that addresses the urgent need to protect the Earth’s very own cooling system – the Arctic ice cap – in order to stabilize the weather patterns that give us all the food and resources we need to survive. By making the Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle into the world’s biggest marine protected area, MAPS compels a global shift away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy and unites world leaders in the commitment to value long-term collective good over short-term individual gain. It also helps to preserve several threatened marine mammal species at a time when our oceans urgently need the beneficial effect of whales.

Captain Watson says, “The Ocean is the life support system of spaceship Earth and marine species from phytoplankton to the great whales are the crew that maintain this life support system. We need to stop killing the crew.”

Of the melting polar ice, Watson remarks, “These vast white expanses of frigid wilderness at both the top and the bottom of our lush green and liquid blue planet solidify the ecological integrity of all that we are. The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary must continue to hold the massive reserves of restless methane within its quiet lonely bosom where sleeping viruses remain safely captive. From the dark boreal forests to the groaning of the shifting floes, there is the constant whispering reminder that this stark and desolate world is the key to our survival.”

Among the many serious risks of melting polar ice is the loss of Arctic permafrost, soil that normally never thaws. As the ice vanishes, the air warms up, and begins to thaw the land as well. Methane stored in the permafrost, which has a greenhouse effect 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide, has already been thawing and bursting out of the ground. Pathogens such as smallpox and anthrax that have been buried for centuries are beginning to come to the surface. In 2017, anthrax outbreaks in Siberia infected a herd of reindeer and killed at least one person. Meanwhile, more methane yet is buried in the Arctic seabed. All life depends on stopping the chain reaction that is melting the Arctic.

Our future is written in ice and water. The Arctic Ocean sustains us all, but it can only protect us if we protect it. The Earth Charter declares that “common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life.”

There is no time to lose. Arctic ice that has protected humanity for thousands of years by keeping the Earth cool is melting before our eyes. An ice-free Arctic Ocean would be catastrophic for all life. Droughts, floods, wildfires and storms will all increase as the ice melts, threatening crops and water supplies, and endangering all life on Earth.

Courageous leadership, compassionate connection and dedicated service are the way forward for all of us at this pivotal time in human history. The growing chorus of voices calling for MAPS, including Captain Watson, exemplify this.

“All of us at are deeply grateful for Captain Watson’s support for MAPS and his passionate heart for Nature,” says Parvati, founder of and editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. “The time is now to realize MAPS for the sake of all life.”

Arctic 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.