Welcome to our first newsletter! This is the first of a series of periodic updates on what we've been up to and where we're headed. For the uninitiated (and the curious), we're sharing our unusual backstory in this first issue.
But first, who are we? The Blue Climate Initiative (BCI) was established by the environmental nonprofit Tetiaroa Society to focus on the biggest environmental challenge the world has faced: climate change. While Tetiaroa Society works broadly on scientific research, conservation, cultural and education programs in French Polynesia, BCI is laser focused on ocean related solutions to climate change. Our raison d’etre is to have an impact.
So BCI is nimble and opportunistic in finding the best opportunities for impact. Two projects rising to the top of our priority list over the past year are a deep sea mining moratorium, which can prevent the start of an industry that could damage ecosystem functioning for centuries, and elevating the voices of Indigenous people around the Pacific who have insights and approaches that the world can greatly benefit from. More about these programs below.
Thank you for supporting our efforts, and we hope you enjoy our newsletter...
Stan Rowland and the BCI Team
What is the Blue Climate Initiative, and how did
Marlon Brando get in here?
We get those questions a lot. The first one, anyway. Our origins as an organization are unique, and they include marching orders from one of the world's most famous actors and activists.
Dr. Diva Amon and Dr. Guillermo Oturno Crespo at the Blue Climate Summit
Against Deep Sea Mining
When the Blue Climate Initiative convened 250 ocean champions in French Polynesia last year to explore the impact we could have NOW to protect our oceans and its ability to slow climate change, the priority was obvious: put a stop to Deep Sea Mining before it starts.
We've spent the past year amassing a wealth of research on the alternatives to the metals that mining companies would have us believe are necessary to effect a transition to clean energy. And we've joined forced with - okay, stood on the shoulders of - Indigenous leaders who make the powerful case that protection of the deep, not exploitation, is in humanity's best interest.
BCI's Jeanne Everett addresses a group at a panel discussion organised by the Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy at IMPAC5, February 2023. The event featured a mini screening of Director Mathieu Rytz' latest film Deep Rising, coming out in cinemas across the US on October 27th 2023
The Metals Myth
Cobalt. Nickel. Manganese. Copper. These are the metals that have been in use until recently in electric vehicle batteries. They are found in abundance in nodules at the bottom of the eastern Pacific in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Mining interests such as The Metals Company contend that they are critical to the clean energy transition.
The truth is that there are a growing number of alternatives to deep sea-extracted minerals. We can achieve a green future without mining our ocean. We've distilled extensive research on material and process alternatives to deep sea mining in a white paper that will be published before the upcoming International Seabed Authority meeting this Fall. We've also been taking this myth-busting message to decison makers and influencers worldwide, including at international ocean conferences such as IMPAC5 and the Ocean Visions Summit, and to a working group meeting with White House staff.
Clockwise from top: Signatories to the statement against deep sea mining; Jonathan Musalem of Papua New Guinea at the March, 2023 ISA meeting; Hinano Murphy and Sol Kaho'ohalala at the ISA.
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS:
Indigenous Leaders Against Deep Sea Mining
The Blue Climate Initiative was born in the blue heart of the Pacific Ocean, in French Polynesia. So it's not surprising that our approach to ocean protection and use has been guided by the wisdom of island communities.
As part of a larger Indigenous-centered project called "Voice of the Ocean," we began a collaboration last February to bring pressure to bear on the International Seabed Authority at their meetings in Jamaica in March and July. Working alongisde the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, The Oxygen Project, Greenpeace and Pacific Blue Line, we gathered signatures on an anti-DSM statement by prominent Indigenous leaders across the Pacific and beyond. The statement is online, and we invite all members of Indigenous communities who oppose deep sea mining to sign. (Allies are welcome as well.) To date, representatives from over 70 indigenous groups in nearly 50 countries have lent their voices.
A First for Pacific Island Indigenous Representatives
In March, the tireless Cultural Director of our parent organization Tetiaroa Society traveled to Jamaica to address the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority. Hinano Murphy is a native Polynesian (Paumotu) whose professional life has been devoted to the preservation and teaching of traditional knowledge. Joined by such notables as seventh-generation Hawaiian leader Sol Kaho'ohalala, Papua New Guinea's Jonathan Musalem and Alanna Smith from Cook Islands, Hinano had the honor of being in the first cohort of Indigenous representatives ever to address the body.
A similarly constituted group of Indigenous leaders returned to the critical July meeting of the ISA, where the decision was made to postpone the target date for issue of mining regulations to 2025.