WHY THE ARCTIC OCEAN
It’s our life support. The Arctic Ocean keeps our world cool and healthy. By regulating ocean and atmospheric currents for the whole planet, it ensures the vital conditions in which we can grow food, access fresh water, and keep our homes safe from disaster.
But it’s melting. The Arctic Ocean is warming faster than any other place on Earth. There is now 75% less Arctic sea ice in the summer than there was just 50 years ago, and 95% of the oldest and thickest ice is gone. Exposed Arctic water now absorbs 90% of the sun’s heat. Parts of the Arctic Ocean are 7°C hotter than yearly averages. This has already changed global rainfall patterns, drought risk, and growing seasons. The global economy and our social stability have already been disrupted as a result.
Food, water, and air are at risk. Today, close to a third of our world does not have enough to eat, and two billion people live in water scarcity. Over 90% of the world’s population breathe unhealthy levels of polluted air. These factors combined kill 17 million people every year—over 9 times the COVID-19 deaths in 2020.
Homes are at risk. The loss of sea ice warms the surrounding air and land, thawing glacial ice which leads to global sea level rise. At least 300 million people live in cities that are susceptible to rising sea levels and coastal flooding. If we don’t act now, sea level rise will redraw the map of the world and displace billions.
Livable temperatures are at risk. Arctic permafrost is thawing, threatening to release methane deposits equivalent to 4-5 times all the CO2 emitted since 1850. Studies show that methane is 84 times more powerful than CO2 in the short term to heat our world.
Health is at risk. Arctic permafrost also houses millennia worth of frozen, buried pathogens proven to revive and infect even after tens of thousands of years. As the permafrost melts, we face diseases for which we have no name, let alone immunity or cure.
But our life support is being sold off. Even though a healthy Arctic Ocean is essential to the survival of all life on this planet, governments and businesses around the globe seek to profit off its melt, through activities such as oil and gas exploration, commercial shipping and fishing, mining, dumping, and military buildup that further damage the ecosystem and our atmosphere.