An Essay Based on the Documentary Planet Ocean, and 16 Ocean Passages of experience.

In 25 years of sailing the Pacific Ocean, one trip from Gibraltar to Greece, a coastal voyage from Mombasa to Zanzibar and a play off the coast of Central America down the coastlines of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, I have watched the Oceans die before my very eyes. 150 odd years ago humans mastered the art of using fossil fuels to heat and light their homes, cook their food and propel their vehicles. From very early on in the unlocking of this genie from it’s millennia of slumber, we released it into and upon our biosphere. This carbon had spent millions of years accumulating and in a century and a half we have incinerated most of it.

The ocean currents are responsible for the temperate climate that we have on our living planet and our promiscuous use of fossil fuels has heated them and thrown them into disarray, hypoxia and acidification, which has been steadily killing off the phyto plankton, the basis of the ocean food web at the very same time that we are vacuuming the survivors on an industrial scale. Half the air that we breathe comes from these species truly making the oceans, the blue lung of our planet.

Our oceans are the largest carbon sink on our planet and like the jungles of South America they are also her lungs. With our forest lungs, we rip them out and release the carbon they have spent centuries sequestering at their roots and our ocean lungs we rape and pillage,poison and defile, hence we are now left gasping for breath. This cycle of life has been running for millions of years, one species has been able to terminate it in something like 200. Every year we burn a million years of the laying down of plankton.

In 2001 I sailed the length of the Great Barrier Reef from North of Cairns to Brisbane, in excess of 800 miles. Whilst in Cairns I attended a seminar about the reef and was shocked to be congratulated by the lecturer to be one of the last generations to have dived the Great Barrier Reef while it was still alive. At the time I thought it to be an extreme position, little did I know, which has become a recurring theme, how prescient he was.

We have treated our fellow species with barbarity and disdain, now fate and natural justice has come a calling.Every second that goes by there are two more people on the planet to feed, at the very same time that our food production is collapsing along with our entire biosphere, with a population overshoot of 7.1 billion.We have morphed a coastal , family fishing lifestyle, into an industrial scale vacuuming of the oceans. After sailing across them I have a reasonable idea of how vast they are yet when I visited the Tokyo Fish Market it became obvious to me that it was unsustainable.

Our capitalist system pays lip-service to sustainability while the corporations that own our legislators, orchestrate a system of exploitation masquerading as a sustainable venture, whilst at the same time employing armies of tacticians, to game the very system that they have designed to limit others.These same scam masters have taken jobs from the former industrialized world and transferred them to virtual slave societies, predominantly in Asia with smaller outposts in Africa and the Americas.

There are 600 million containers transiting our oceans mostly filled with things we are told we want, not really what we need. A single ship can transport an entire forest, thanks to the oceans and these scammers, no forest is safe.To quote Tim Garrett and Guy McPherson” Industrial civilisation is a heat machine”, nothing we can do will prevent this catastrophe now, with the forty year lag in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the disastrous meandering of the polar vortex and the unraveling of our biosphere is well under way.

Methane is at the wheel of our ship now, released from warming ocean depths and melting permafrost with a greenhouse effect of between 40 and 100 times that of carbon. In the nearly two decades since the inception of the IPCC we have been warned of the danger of the release of this millennia old gasses, yet in the latest projections of the IPCC the mention of methane has been removed.Not because it is no longer a danger but because they don’t want to address the issue.If a meteorite were heading towards earth with certain extinction the consequence, would you expect to be informed?It is happening and your not being informed except by a few of us citizen journalists trying our best.

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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