By Nico Roman, 9
A turquoise sea-turtle hatches beside her siblings in their golden sandy nest. She blinks her jewel eyes. She is just a baby – small, vulnerable and endangered. She has only one chance in 2,500 to survive, a symbol for all life below water if we cannot change our ways. Like sea-turtles, I have lived on Pacific and Atlantic coasts, swimming Baltic, Salish and Caribbean seas. To save this TINY life and all ocean creatures, we need real change, fast.
We Need Oceans Laws and Compliance
Overfishing and illegal fishing must stop. We need new international and national laws to end subsidies. People must only buy sustainably caught seafood (with escape hatches in nets preventing by-catch of turtles) and not endangered species. Waterproof cameras on boats should film tweets and blogs, making citizens act more responsibly. Coast guards, communities and kids can enforce laws on water and land. By law, people will look out for our tiny turtle as she escapes into the sea, starts her migration, and hunts for food to grow.
We Need a Global End to Ocean Rubbish
Dangerous chemicals are polluting our oceans with run-off from fertilizers and pesticides from the land, industrial chemicals, and untreated storm-water. Plastics are collecting in huge islands, hurting sea-turtles, whales and birds. We must end all harmful practices that drive ocean pollution, changing all agriculture and industry so it is clean and healthy. People must reduce, re-use and recycle all waste, cradle-to-grave, especially plastics. This way, pollution won’t poison or strangle our tiny turtle as she swims thousands of kilometres on her migration across the oceans.
We Need New Marine Plans, Protection and Measurement
There are not enough marine protected areas, and many are degraded. Ecosystems are threatened, like bleaching of coral. Climate change is causing serious impacts. Clear targets and plans must guarantee protection for all threatened marine ecosystems, respecting scientists and communities. Kids clubs and everyone can help, including tourists. With safe zones, and better measurement and on-ground action, we can ensure that our tiny turtle, and all her friends have a safe and resilient home. Our sea turtle, not so tiny now, can return to lay her own eggs in the sand. Her hatchlings will be protected, maybe by teams of children like me, as they start their own journeys.
Even the tiniest child can make a big difference for sea turtles, for our oceans and for our future.