DESROCHES ISLAND:In a striking speech delivered from deep below the ocean’s surface, the Seychelles president on Sunday made a global plea for stronger protection of the “beating blue heart of our planet.”
President Danny Faure’s call for action, the first-ever live speech from an underwater submersible, came from one of the many island nations threatened by global warming.
He spoke during a visit to an ambitious British-led science expedition exploring the Indian Ocean depths. Oceans cover over two-thirds of the world’s surface but remain, for the most part, uncharted. We have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor, Faure said.
“This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time,” the president said from a manned submersible 400 feet (121 metres) below the waves, on the seabed off the outer islands of the African nation.
Wearing a Seychelles T-shirt and shorts, the president said after his speech that the experience was “so, so cool. What biodiversity.” It made him more determined than ever to speak out for marine protection, he said. “We just need to do what needs to be done. The scientists have spoken.” The oceans’ role in regulating climate and the threats they face are underestimated by many, even though as Faure pointed out they generate “half of the oxygen we breathe.” Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems’ health.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2019