Dancing protesters demand cleaner shipping outside IMO building

Delegates arriving for the opening day of this week’s UN IMO shipping conference were stunned to be greeted by a horde of enthusiastic dancers demanding that the shipping sector halve its climate warming emissions by 2030, and to nearly zero by 2040.

The colorful crowd enjoyed great music played by London DJs (Giles Smith(NTS)), Neev (Magic FM) and duo Wild Sirenda and danced while holding placards and banners celebrating the oceans and calling for a reduction of pollution from shipping.

The event – Dance 4 the Oceans – was organized by Ecohustler, an independent online magazine whose mission is to bring people unexpected, entertaining, ecological content. 

Matt Mellen, the founder and editor of Ecohustler said: “We are dancing here this morning to celebrate the oceans while calling on the UN IMO to finally take action on the immense greenhouse gas emissions that come from shipping. If the 1.5 degree Paris target is going to be achieved, shipping has to halve its emissions by 2030. 

“It’s all hands on deck this week for IMO members to put in place the big changes we need to make before it is too late. The decisions made by the IMO during this vital conference have huge implications for everyone. The emissions from shipping alone can tip us further into climate chaos. On the flip side, getting it right means a brighter future for everyone.”  

The IMO is meeting at its London headquarters for a historic climate summit – MEPC 80 – to determine whether and how fast global shipping will switch off fossil fuels to eliminate its contribution to climate pollution.

The last round of negotiations showed that the IMO is prepared to adopt a net zero target by or around 2050.  Green NGOs, backed by climate science, argue that a 2050 decarbonization goal alone is not enough to get shipping to do its part in achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C climate-warming goal, and are calling on the IMO to halve emissions from ships by 2030, to reach near zero by 2040.

A new study by CE Delft shows that shipping is technologically prepared to reduce its emissions by up to 47%, without impacting the costs of global trade. Halving emissions from ships would be equivalent to shutting down 121 coal power plants.

The dancing event was MC’ed by Samantha Moyo who founded London’s legendary daytime conscious rave Morning Gloryville (MGV) who is also a trustee of ocean charity, City to Sea. 

Samantha Moyo said: “It is the 10-year anniversary since MGV was launched in London. The mission of all our work must always be to spread joy and inspire positive action. We are delighted to be coming together at this crucial time to dance for, and celebrate, our one blue planet. 

“Personally, I will be channeling appreciation for all the work being done for climate action and ocean protection both inside the UN IMO and beyond. Together, with love, joy and peace we can do what it takes to protect our environment and our oceans and our planet. I hope that this dance supports the UN delegates who are standing for the ocean. It’s really for them we are showing up. “

The event was also supported by Dr. Bronner’s, the biggest-selling organic soap company in the U.S., which has had environmental activism at the heart of its company since it was created 75 years ago. 

Cliff Moss, Managing Director of Dr. Bronner’s in the UK said: “We’re a proud supporter of Ecohustler and help fund their work through our All-One UK Initiative.  Dr. Bronner’s is guided by six cosmic principles, one of which is ‘Treat the earth like home’, another is to ‘fund and fight for what’s right’. Both these principles underscore why Ecohustler is a mission aligned partner for us.

“As a global business, we ship our products all around the world and increasingly sell our soap in the UK and Europe. We believe clean and more sustainable shipping is possible and indeed essential to the modern economy.”

Photo credit: Tom Sweetland

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