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Exclusive: Sea Shepherd founder warns destruction of planet ‘out of control’

Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson has warned human destruction of ecosystems is “out of control” and impacting us as a species.

“This is not about saving planet Earth,” he said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News Australia.

“This is about saving ourselves from ourselves.”

Describing the world as “completely out of balance”, the veteran environmental campaigner argues that humans need to realise they are dependent on other species for survival.

A screenshot of Paul Watson on Zoom. His office can be seen in the background.
Captain Paul Watson spoke to Yahoo News Australia via Zoom from his base in New York City. Source: Michael Dahlstrom

Covid-19 a sign of worse to come warns Sea Shepherd founder

On Captain Watson’s mind right now is the survival of the tiny phytoplankton which live in our oceans – organisms most people have never heard of.

The diverse group of microorganisms play a role as significant as forests in transforming the planet’s carbon dioxide into oxygen and are the basis of ocean food webs.

Life on Earth depends on their existence, and a small drop in number could have devastating consequences.

Scientists fear they are under threat from rising ocean temperatures.

A Japanese whaling vessel and a Sea Shepherd boat crashing into one another.
Sea Shepherd’s aggressive tactics were critical in driving Japanese whalers out of the Southern Ocean. Source: Sea Shepherd

While the decline of the oceans’ phytoplankton may be hard to see from our busy lives on land, Captain Watson points to Covid-19 as a more obvious example of human impact on the planet.

Speaking from his base in the United States, where half a million people have died from the virus, he has seen its impact first-hand.

He predicts the zoonotic coronavirus is a harbinger of worse things to come.

As the permafrost melts and forests are destroyed, he is concerned new viruses that were once locked away under ice or in the blood of animal hosts risk coming into contact with humans.

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