With the Arctic Ocean sea-ice cover reducing seasonally, due in part to man-induced climate change, the North Pole’s unique “floating ice-reef ecosystem” is increasingly stressed. The environmental issue of sea-ice loss is less about the geophysics of a melting layer of frozen sea water … and far more about the potentially catastrophic loss of a globally unique “floating ice-reef ecosystem” dependent on year-round sea ice.
But the new threats resulting from increased access to this newly-created open ocean – commercial shipping, fishing, tourist cruises and mineral extraction – can and must be controlled as soon as a forthcoming modification to the High Seas Treaty permits.
Pen Hadow’s vision is the signing of an international agreement to create a permanently protected area for the wildlife and ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean’s international waters by 2032 (when an existing voluntary and only partially protective agreement ends).
To deliver the vision, Hadow founded the 90ºNorth Unit (Ltd), an independent, not-for-profit advocacy organisation. Its objective is to catalyse, support and promote this international policy-making process. He leads the Unit’s advocacy campaign which involves a 15-year road map of activity through the United Nations to 2032.
In Autumn 2017 Arctic Mission’s story, research and images about pollution in the Arctic Ocean was used successfully by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in a ‘Save Our Seas Act’ debate in the US Senate to successfully recover funding for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) marine debris research programme.