Would you want your home bombed? Neither do the inhabitants of the Arctic Ocean.

Before you finish reading this sentence, a single seismic air gun will blast the seabed multiple times, each with a sound 100,000 times louder than a jet engine.

Seismic blasting is the method of choice for oil companies to look for oil and gas reserves buried deep in the ocean floor. For whales and other marine animals, this is a violent and traumatic assault on their habitat. Seismic blasting subjects them to these incredibly loud sounds, every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for months on end. It is known to cause hearing loss; disrupted mating, feeding and migration patterns; beach strandings; and even death.

Seismic blasting is senseless in any ocean, but especially in waters that are off-limits to oil and gas exploitation. Oil reserves in the Arctic Ocean seabed are unburnable under any scenario that ensures countries keep their commitments in the Paris Agreement. Additional damage caused by drilling for oil and gas includes oil spills under Arctic ice that would be impossible to clean up. In light of the ecological and humanitarian crisis facing our world, seismic blasting in the vulnerable Arctic Ocean, in order to look for oil that scientists agree must stay in the ground, is senseless.

Seventeen species of whales, many of which are already threatened, can be found in the Arctic Ocean. Massive guardians of the sea, whales feed in the depths and churn the waters as they release nitrogen-rich plumes near the surface. This nourishes phytoplankton responsible for half our world’s oxygen. Bombing the home of our benefactors is a deadly mistake. Seismic blasting also threatens the way of life for Arctic coastal communities who directly depend on the sea.

MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, stops all seismic testing in the Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle for good. Our world needs tranquil waters. That’s why we need MAPS now.

By Parvati Magazine Staff