As every single one of us knows, the oceans cover more than two-thirds of the entire planet. They are a vast territory of unexplored mysteries, resources that will be hard to exhaust even on the current rates and rich wildlife that lives in countless fragile eco-systems and contribute not only to the biodiversity of planet Earth but also to life itself. There is no need to stress the necessities of protecting the world’s oceans from pollution and over-exploitation and preserve life in it. The people at ClientEarth, from board members to employees to friends of the NGO like Ms Sumru Ramsey, know this fact very well and have taken the mission to heart.
What is ClientEarth?
We are talking about, of course, one of the biggest and most innovative organisations that have dedicated their power and resources to changing environmental policy and law. A sort of a guerrilla group of lawyers who have the back of friends of the environment who are not afraid to speak up and take action. People who support this unique organisation include Sumru Ramsey, dignitaries as Lord Giddens and celebrities like musician Brian Eno, as well as the huge resources of a global NGO that have the means and the willingness to change environmental laws in such a fashion as to ensure that the generations to come are going to be able to enjoy the beauty and richness of our world. No one is safe from the arrows of justice shot by the people at ClientEarth. To this day, the NGO has taken to court:
- Heavy industries
- Private individuals
All of them have refused to follow the law as written. Their staggering rate of success in such cases, as well as the efforts made by the organisation’s employees to figure out new ways the law can be changed in a manner that is positive for the environment, have contributed to ClientEarth being heralded as one of the most prominent environmental groups of the 21st century. Praise comes from active members, as well as people involved in any fashion with the field in which the NGO specialises, such as Ms Sumru Ramsey, and Katie Miller, the Sustainable Seafood Coalition Coordinator, who has gone on record to say: “Working for ClientEarth gives me a huge sense of hope. By combining law with science, and working with businesses, we will make a real difference to our seas at a time when action is critical.”
The five stages of changing environmental law
Main causes of marine pollution
There are several pretty complex factors that contribute greatly to the oceans being polluted on a global scale. One of the most important among those is nearly as old as the modern concept of a big city – that’s the sewage. It contributes to pollution entering the oceans directly, or through rivers. In the same vein, toxic chemicals from light and heavy industries are often directly dumped into the ocean. Since they are floating away from direct sight and it is a cheap (albeit ineffective and even counter-productive) solution to a great problem, many companies even in Europe continue to do it, thus irreversibly damaging fragile eco-systems. Littering on a smaller level can also cause a lot of damage.
Another major cause of pollution in the oceans is land runoff. This happens when water infiltrates the soil and due to rain and other flooding factors, over-saturates it to a level and it begins to spill into the ocean, causing misbalance of the eco-system and, of course, pollution with man-made contaminators that have been sitting in the soil.
The two biggest threats to the oceans in terms of pollution, however, are large-scale oil-spills and deep-sea mining. In their urge to get to natural resources, humans often cause catastrophic events. We all remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, right? Both accidents and regular mining practices contaminate the ocean water to an extent that is often disastrous to the wildlife and brings numerous health hazards to people. Since the oceans are in fact one big eco-system, the effects from one part of the world can easily be felt on the other side of the globe too.
And the results?
The effects of the above-mentioned practices and events are plentiful. The lifecycle of certain marine animals has been or is going to be disrupted irreversibly. Coral reefs die and the oxygen content of the ocean water decreases at an alarming rate every year. The effects on the food chain are visible since certain organisms that usually become food to other animals are going extinct causing starvation on every level. And, of course, there are the effects on human health – long-term problems, even cancer and birth defects have been directly linked to toxins built up in marine animals that are usually deemed fit for human consumption.
What is ClientEarth doing?
Sumru Ramsey, an avid environmentalist and fundraiser, as well as other concerned affiliates and members of ClientEarth, have dedicated themselves to changing the ways governments see the environmental problems of today. By doing exhaustive research and working hard on new policies and their implementation they are striving for a change on how protecting the world’s oceans are being protected, which is probably the most effective and far-reaching strategy that is currently known to mankind. If deep-sea mining, fishing and waste dumping are better regulated, the oceans will be in better condition too.