Elysium Epic’s Manifesto – A Call for a Change in Attitude Toward Our Oceans

  1. Elysium Epic’s explorers recognise that global climate change is intimately related to ocean change. For the world to address climate change, we must address ocean change.
  2. The oceans play an essential role in regulating global climate and regional temperature, and are crucial for controlling the carbon, oxygen, and water cycles of the planet. The oceans are a vital part of the complex geophysical and biochemical systems that support life on Earth.
  3. The exchanges of cold and warm water that take place in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean and the seas of the Arctic are key drivers of ocean thermohaline circulation around the globe, and thus play a fundamental role in controlling the world’s climate.
  4. There is strong evidence that, due to human impacts on our atmosphere stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases, significant changes are taking place in the chemical composition of the oceans. Those changes are affecting the ocean's pH levels and productivity, and are impairing the ability of ocean life to survive and thrive. These issues are vital signs, telling us that our planet is in distress.
  5. The ocean harbours a great diversity of life, with complex interactions between species and their environment. Productivity of ocean life affects global climate through the carbon cycle and provides important protein to the world food supply.
  6. If each of us accepts personal responsibility for becoming informed about climate change and ocean change issues, and for taking appropriate individual action to address the problems involved, collectively we will be able to achieve the results necessary to restore the health of our planet.

The Climate Change Paradigm: Atmosphere to Ocean to Climate

The Elysium Epic’s mission stems from its explorers’ shared understanding that climate change is intimately related to ocean change. The oceans play an essential role in regulating global climate and regional temperature, and are crucial for controlling the carbon, oxygen, and water cycles of the planet. The oceans are a vital part of the complex geophysical and biochemical systems that support life on Earth. For example, the exchanges of cold and warm water that take place in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean and the seas of the Arctic are key drivers of thermohaline circulation throughout all the oceans across the globe, and thermohaline circulation in turn plays a fundamental role in controlling the world’s climate. Another example: there is strong evidence that, due to impacts on our atmosphere stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases, significant changes are taking place in the chemical composition of the oceans. Those changes are affecting the ocean's pH levels and productivity, and are impairing the ability of ocean life to survive and thrive. Impacts on the well-being of ocean life are beginning to affect other forms of life as well. These issues are vital signs, telling us that our planet is in distress.

Human impacts on the ocean are increasing every year with global warming and acidification reducing ocean productivity, over-development and pollution contaminating the sea, and an increasing demand for food causing over-harvesting of the worlds fisheries. Addressing these issues requires a combination of exploration and quantitative analysis to understand the underlying processes controlling diversity and productivity of marine life. Such knowledge is essential to allow us to better protect ocean life and thereby protect ourselves.

 

The Strategy

The members of the Elysium Epic expedition and all affiliated agents and organizations will embark on a systematic global awareness campaign, using a variety of publications and activities, to increase public and governmental understanding of climate change and ocean change in the Antarctic. A crucial goal is to explain that ocean change is a key element of climate change, and addressing the serious changes occurring in our oceans must be a part of addressing climate change if we are going to achieve the most beneficial outcomes.

 

Saving the Ocean’s Barometers

Dolphins, sharks, and whales are crucial umbrella species in ocean ecosystems, and are therefore barometers of our ocean's health. By preserving the existence of these creatures in the oceans, we will be preserving an essential strand in the web of life on Earth. The indiscriminate culling of these magnificent and important animals must cease, and no effort should be spared to achieve that result.

 

Protecting Ocean Health

Ocean life influences the chemical composition of the sea, thereby impacting ocean-atmosphere gas exchange and global climate. Human induced ocean warming and acidification are changing the balance between ocean biology and its physical and chemical environment. It is incumbent on us to explore and quantify ocean life and its environment, from plankton through top predators, in order to understand and protect the health of this vital component of our planet's biosphere. Studying key groups of animals like zooplankton (e.g. krill, copepods, salps), and higher predators (e.g. dolphins, sharks, whales, seals and seabirds) can help us keep our finger on the pulse of ocean life.

 

Personal Responsibility

The Elysium Epic explorers are each committed to using their expertise to increase worldwide understanding of ocean change as a key element of climate change. The explorers have taken on the personal responsibility of achieving that goal by following in the wake of Shackleton’s epic 20th century expedition, and by expanding upon the Shackleton mission to create an unparalleled artistic portrait and crucial scientific index of the current conditions in the Antarctic as climate change begins to take a toll on the region. The Elysium Epic explorers are dedicated to the notion that preservation of life on Earth as we know it depends on each individual accepting personal responsibility for educating him or herself about climate change issues and for reducing his or her own carbon footprint.

 

For Future Generations

The Elysium Epic explorers will strive to create a comprehensive and compelling artistic portrait of the Antarctic, and document its current ecological status scientifically. The explorers hope the fruits of their efforts will bring the plight of this crucial region to the attention of the world, inspire action to fight climate change, yield vital benchmark data for measuring the future effects of Antarctic warming, and will comprise a magnificent collection of sights, sounds, and information that will be treasured by future generations.

 

The Declaration

This Manifesto affirms that the Elysium Epic is more than just an exploration event. It is a commitment by the team of explorers to a greater goal beyond the adrenalin rush of a challenging adventure. The Elysium Epic is the beginning of an ongoing commitment to inspire and enlighten the general public and government decision-makers around the world, and to motivate everyone to take essential action to restore the health of our planet.