Mundus maris newsletter: February 2020
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Dear <<First Name>>

We have an ambiguous relationship with change. Institutions are good at resisting change, as are people. Most of us will have all known situations where we defended the status quo only to find out that after change had been forced through, after a while we barely remembered how it had been before. Our ability to adjust leads to the shifting baseline syndrome, a well documented phenomenon where people judge their environment in relation to what they have experienced during their lifetime, unappreciative of earlier states.

It's also not a reliable compass for appreciating our impact on the ocean and the land. Individually it may look like not much, but collectively, human activities are having a bigger impact on rates of change than the natural geological processes on our planet. Among these are

  • erosion and sedimentation, where human impact is 10 times higher than that of the world's rivers

  • sealevel rise is now in the order of 30 cm per century after being almost stagnant for 7000 years

  • extinction rates are 1000 to 10000 times the background rates,

  • atmospheric carbon dioxide from human activities exceed those of the world's volcanos by 2 orders of magnitudes, now higher than at any time in the last 4 million years.

Marcia Bjornerud puts our impacts into perspective in her book “Timefulness. How thinking like a geologist can help save the world”. She pleads to pause and take action to reverse the dangerous trends we have triggered in the anthropocene, if we want to keep the planet the habitable place we appreciate. We warmly recommend reading it.

In the meantime, activities in February gave us a taste of just how much more public reflection and mobilisation is needed to bring about such positive change and overcome dug in heels standing in the way.

Only two examples: the Ocean Action Conference and the open letter of the alliance supporting reform of the Marine Stewardship Council to ensure the label can be trusted only to be granted to sustainable fisheries. They invite your creativity and support for change in the right direction.

You can make a difference by supporting these and other efforts with a weekly or monthly donation to

Mundus maris asbl (beneficiary), Belfius Bank, Rue de Linthout 224, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
IBAN: BE54 0688 9178 6297 BIC: GKCCBEBB

Contact us any time at .

Cornelia E. Nauen and the entire Mundus maris team

Support our work with a donation

Activities around the world

Mundus maris participated in the Ocean Action Conference

This timely conference organised by Seas At Risk in Brussels, 5 February 2020, put all the emphasis where it urgently belongs: on to implementation and action! Taking issue with the gulf between talk and action, even between legislation supposed to be enacted, but regularly broken and ignored without consequences for the perpetrators in high office and in implementation agencies alike, the consortium supporting the conference had elaborated a Blue Manifesto of an implementation roadmap between now and 2030 to meet commitments. 

Read more

'Make Stewardship Count' coalition wants MSC to ban shark finning

Mundus maris is among the members of the coalition expressing concerns about the ongoing incidence of shark finning in MSC-certified fisheries and the Marine Stewardship Council’s continued reluctance to implement globally acknowledged best practice to ensure this can no longer continue. The open letter follows on from continued engagement with the MSC programme, including open letters sent in 2018 and 2019 signed by over 50 stakeholders. 

Read more
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