Mother Earth Monday: SOS Save Our Seas!

From Common Dreams comes this from the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago: scientists warned that without international cooperation with a focus on “deep-ocean stewardship,” deep sea mining will follow the destructive examples set by commercial fishing and offshore fossil fuel operations.

Vast tracts of deep seabed are already being leased by commercial mining operations, said panelist Professor Lisa Levin, who heads the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Levin told the conference that the surge in demand for consumer devices, such as portable electronics and batteries for hybrid vehicles, is pushing mining companies to expand their operations to the ocean floor to seek out hard-to-find rare earth elements such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and copper.

The imminent threat of deep sea mining “is not something out of science fiction,” added Cindy Lee Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory.

“The deep ocean is a vast repository of resources, and looking over the long term—the next hundreds of years, say—we almost surely are going in there to mine,” Levin warned.