The president of the Seychelles Danny Faure has made a global plea for stronger protection and preservation of the “beating blue heart of our planet”, in a striking speech delivered from deep below the ocean’s surface. He calls for action, billed as the first-ever live speech from a submersible during a visit to an ambitious British-led science expedition exploring the Indian Ocean depths. The president was speaking from a manned submersible 120 metres (400ft) below the waves, on the seabed off the outer islands of the African nation.
Wearing a Seychelles T-shirt and shorts, Faure said after his speech that the experience was “so, so cool”. It made him more determined than ever to speak out for marine protection, he said. “We just need to do what needs to be done. The scientists have spoken. Oceans cover over two-thirds of the world’s surface but remain, for the most part, uncharted. We have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor”. This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time, Faure added.
Faure pointed out that, the oceans’ role in regulating the climate and the risks it faces are underestimated by many, even though they generate half of the oxygen we breathe. He also stresses the importance of scientific missions to preserve the health of underwater ecosystems. Small island nations are among the most vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Land erosion, dying coral reefs and the increased frequency of extreme weather events threaten their existence. During the expedition, marine scientists from the University of Oxford have surveyed underwater life, mapped large areas of the sea floor and explored the depths with manned submersibles and underwater drones.