The Long Swim and FXTM’s Campaign to Save Our Seas
What will the world look like in 2050? No doubt technological advances will have fundamentally changed many aspects of our lives. Artificial Intelligence is set to take the wheel, with driverless cars becoming the norm. 3D printing may have dramatically slashed the cost of building housing, with whole streets going up in just a matter of days. Physical communities may become a thing of the past anyway, as sophisticated nanotechnology allows people to plug into fully-realised, simulated worlds.
That’s on land, but what will be happening in the waters that make up 70% of the earth? The outlook is bleak. Experts say that by 2050 there will be more individual pieces of plastic in our ocean than fish – and we’ll start to feel the effects of mankind’s irresponsible treatment of the seas long before then, writes FXTM’s Senior Staff Writer Kirsty MacSween.
The Long Swim, sponsored by global forex broker FXTM, is trying to turn things around before it’s too late. It’s the ambitious brainchild of endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh. This summer he’s attempting the first-ever swim along the length of the English Channel, from Land’s End to Dover. It’s a brutal 560-kilometre journey through choppy waters, the equivalent of swimming from England to France 16 times.
Lewis Pugh is teaming up with FXTM to advocate for the expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs). At the moment only 2.5% of our oceans enjoy this protection. With the eyes of the world’s media on this awe-inspiring athleticism, The Long Swim is the first in a series of events planned by Pugh, whose overall goal is to persuade decision-makers to designate 30% of the world’s waters full MPAs by 2030 in a campaign called Action for Oceans.
Why do healthy oceans matter?
Our oceans are vital for the planet’s overall health; they should be teeming with life. Scientists estimate that the seas house 200,000 known species and that there are roughly 800,000 unidentified species left to discover – but they won’t be there forever.
Their ecosystems are becoming irreparably damaged through plastic pollution and changes to the pH balance of the water; this poisonous phenomenon is known as ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is absorbed by the ocean and changes the chemical makeup of the water. Increased acidity dissolves the shells of sea creatures like mussels, clams and coral. Because these are often at the bottom of the food chain, this has a knock-on effect on many more species’ survival.
This affects everyone, not just marine biologists. The seas are the world’s largest source of protein and more than 3 million people around the world rely on them for their livelihoods. The total global market value of marine resources has been placed at $3 trillion.
What’s being done about it?
Right now, a truck-load of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute, which won’t disintegrate fully for 1000 years. It’s estimated that every square mile of ocean surface holds 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Larger marine life like birds, fish and mammals mistake this waste for food or injure themselves on it in other ways.
In order to combat the amount of plastic littering the seas, the UN is encouraging countries to introduce policies to eliminate or reduce plastic waste. For example, India has committed to eradicate single-use plastic packaging by 2022, while the UK has promised to be plastic waste-free by 2042. Initiatives include banning or discouraging plastic bag and Styrofoam use.
It’s a good start, but the concern is that well-meaning targets set so far in the future may come too late for this urgent issue.
Since so many nations are proving slow to tackle plastic production and industrial pollution, it’s up to public awareness campaigns to fight for change. The UN’s Clean Seas initiative has already galvanised support around the world – now it’s The Long Swim’s turn to direct the media’s attention to this growing problem.
“FXTM has always put integrity and social responsibility high on our list of corporate priorities,” comments Nicholas Defteras, FXTM’s CEO. “That’s why we’re so thrilled to participate as lead supporters of such an important cause. We are committed to doing all we can to help preserve our oceans and raise awareness of this pressing issue in partnership with Lewis Pugh and the Long Swim.”
You can take part in this important fight by watching Lewis’ progress on Sky News in July and August. Follow #FXTMGoesBlue for up-to-the-minute developments and the latest news.
Find out more about this exciting partnership at Forextime.com
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