That’s where I draw my hope from, because deep-sea mining doesn’t happen yet; we can stop it before it starts.Farah Obaidullah
The things we have the best chance of changing are the things that we haven’t started.
That’s the case we’re talking about with this EnvironMental Podcast.
In this episode, we are joined and inspired by Farah Obaidullah. Farah the founder of The Ocean and Us. She is also a newly-minted author, having just released her first book by the same name – The Ocean and Us! Her insights into ocean conservation and the perils of deep-sea mining were both enlightening and alarming.
The Ocean and Us: A Name with Meaning
“It’s really about all of us, and that’s why we were called The Ocean and Us. It isn’t about anybody’s single success in life; it’s about our collective success and our collective survival.”, Farah said, as she explained the name of her organization.
While there is a lot to be done to save our oceans, Farah shared her current efforts with us. She is rallying communities and stakeholders to oppose deep-sea mining. She and the Ocean and Us team are embarking on what they’re calling The Ocean Hope Tour in the summer of 2024.
The Ocean Hope Tour is a journey through the Western coast of the Americas to engage stakeholders from universities and fishing communities to First Nations people and conservation groups. They will stop along the way to have events where people can share their connection to the ocean and raise awareness of the dangers of deep-sea mining. The point is to show the International Seabed Authority (ISA) that there is no social license for Deep-sea Mining.
The Sandstorm Below: The Environmental Impact of Deep-sea Mining
The deep-sea, often referred to as the cradle of life and the world’s largest carbon sink, is under threat from companies seeking to exploit its mineral resources.
Currently, countries and companies in favor of the practice are arguing that it’s necessary for the transition to a renewable energy economy. They would have us believing that humanity ‘needs’ the rare minerals that make up the seabed in order to step away from the fossil fuel industry.
Farah highlighted the irresponsible nature of this practice, which poses severe environmental and social risks.
There’s no world in which this is a sustainable or renewable industry; it’s just an industry taken from our history of being extractive, linear, and destructive.Farah Obaidullah
Farah painted a grim picture of the environmental impact of deep-sea mining. She described how mining vehicles, operating non-stop, would create an endless sandstorm in the deep ocean. Not only would this obscure our ability to monitor their impact on the deep-sea’s ancient ecosystems, but it would very likely destroy the ecosystem itself.
Deep-sea ecosystems are millions of years old. They grow and change very slowly. They do not heal within a human timescale. So we are talking about simply destroying an ecosystem, harvesting its minerals leaving it with no way to replenish itself.
2025: The Threat of Deep-sea Mining in Imminent
Here’s one piece of good news. This exploitive practice isn’t currently happening, That means we still have time to stop it before the inertia of business-as-usual steps in.
Right now, there is a moratorium on deep-sea mining, but as the ISA is working towards a code of conduct, the tension to start mining is palpable. Already, members of the US congress, the UK, and China are pushing for it, while other UN countries, like France, have called for an outright ban on the practice.
The ISA is set to release their rule book at some point in 2025. Because deep-sea mining is most likely to take place in international waters, the fear is that the rules won’t matter. Even if the ISA adds regulations, who will patrol that? With any semblance of a green-light, we are going to see a lack of accountability for the rules.
Farah likened deep-sea mining to a new form of fossil fuel extraction, and we agree. The difference being that we have the chance to take a stand against it before it’s too late.
How You Can Help Save the Ocean and Stop Deep-Sea Mining
You can make a difference right now by joining the Ocean and Us petition to say no to deep-sea mining. With over 340,000 signatures already, we believe this type of public engagement can drive significant change.
Next, we want to encourage you to educate yourself further. Watch the short film “In Too Deep” on YouTube to start with. It’s less than 20 minutes long. The information is great but if for nothing else, the deep-sea visuals will give you goosebumps.
When you’re finished with the video and you want more great ocean content, grab Farah’s new book: The Ocean and Us. It’s a collection of more than 30 easy-to-follow chapters on the how our lives are impacted by the ocean.
Finally, donate to the Ocean Hope Tour. Your contribution will be used to cover the logistics of raising awareness for the ocean up and down the West coast of the Americas – from Alaska to Chili.
Where to Find the Ocean and Us and Farah
Farah’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/farahobaidullah/
The Ocean Hope Tour: https://donorbox.org/support-ocean-and-us