Will you #BackTheBlueBelt?
As Blue Planet II drew to its emotive close last night, a host of famous faces joined forces with the marine conservation community to #BackTheBlueBelt – a network of ocean sanctuaries the size of India. British waters, including Overseas Territories, are home to the largest coral reef on earth, globally significant populations of albatross, whales and turtles, and as many as a quarter of the penguins on the planet – all of which could be protected for future generations. The UK government has pledged £20 million towards the creation of a ‘Blue Belt’ covering four million sq km of waters around seven of the 14 British Overseas Territories, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world. However, experts say their commitments do not go far enough and are in danger of being watered down by successive parliaments. #BackTheBlueBelt is spearheaded by a coalition of the UK's leading marine conservation organisations, who have joined forces to capitalise on the success of Blue Planet II and encourage the public to lobby their local MP to ensure the safe passage of the proposed Blue Belt legislation. Household names including Cara Delevingne, Stephen Fry, Steve Backshall and Geri Horner have lent their support to the campaign on social media, alongside eminent marine scientists. The final episode of Blue Planet II aired last night on BBC1 and included a powerful call to action from Sir David Attenborough, imploring viewers to act to protect our oceans for future generations: “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet? The future of humanity, and indeed of all life on Earth, now depends on us doing so.” To find out how you can #BackTheBlueBelt, visit greatbritishoceans.org and get in touch with your MP.