Local campaigners in deep-sea mining protest

women with protest banner

Members of South West London Greenpeace took part in a national protest calling on government to stop deep-sea-mining.

Volunteers, including Brixton resident Holly Hawkins, displayed home-made banners outside Parliament and the London Eye on Monday (26 April).

Greenpeace is sending images of this and many other protests across the country to government “to make it clear that people across the UK do not support plans to rip up the ocean floor for profit”.

Volunteer Sabrina Smith said: “The deep-sea might seem a world away from our busy urban lives in South West London, but in the year that the UK hosts the UN climate negotiations, we have a chance to prevent the needless destruction of our oceans.

“We’re sending a message to the UK government that they need to take ocean protection seriously and end their support for deep-sea mining.

South West London Greenpeace has been campaigning for years for oceans protection, and welcomed the support that Nigel Haselden, Lambeth borough councillor for Clapham Town, demonstrated at our photo exhibition last year showcasing the beauty of our oceans.”

people with protest banners

Earlier this month, the South West London group hosted online screenings of Greenpeace’s docu-series Ocean Witness, and hundreds of people tweeted the foreign office minister Zac Goldsmith about the need for a strong Global Ocean Treaty.

Greenpeace said activists have been protesting around the world.

In the Pacific Ocean they displayed a banner in front of a ship chartered by DeepGreen, “one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine this precious ecosystem”.

Volunteers simultaneously carried out a peaceful protest in San Diego, USA, targeting a ship chartered by Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR).

On 22 April, activists again targeted GSR as the company conducted deep-sea mining tests, writing RISK in letters two metres high across the side of the ship.

Greenpeace documented large patches of sediment rising to the surface during these tests, indicating significant disturbance to the sea bed.

man with protest banner

Deep-sea mining would involve sending huge industrial machinery to the fragile ecosystems in the depths of the oceans, many of which are less well understood than the surface of Mars.

It would also undermine the livelihoods of many people in Pacific Island communities, by threatening fish stocks, and risks disturbing carbon storage in the deep ocean.

“We need to protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030, and make sure governments urgently agree to a Global Ocean Treaty that can create a global network of ocean sanctuaries where marine life can thrive,” Greenpeace said.

A government review of deep-sea mining is due to conclude in July.

Despite the UK being a major player in this area, little is known about this murky industry, Greenpeace said.

“One of the three largest corporations working on deep-sea mining is UK Seabed Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of US weapons giant Lockheed Martin.

“Rather than a handful of companies exploiting the deep-sea for profit, we need to prioritise reusing resources and moving to a sustainable, circular economy,” Sabrina said.

“I don’t want the phone I use, the battery in my electric car, or the chips in my computer to be there as a result of damage to such a precious and beautiful ecosystem.”

people with protest banner