[The following is a transcript from a talk I gave at the 2019 Minerals, Materials, and Society Symposium at the University of Delaware in August, 2019. It has been lightly edited for clarity.]
Good afternoon and thank you all for
coming. I want to change tracks for a bit and scan the horizon to think about
what the future of exploration and monitoring in the high seas might look like
because ocean and conservation technology is in the midst of an evolutionary
shift in who has access to the tools necessary to observe the deep ocean.
This is the Area. Areas Beyond National
Jurisdiction, International Waters, the High Seas, the Outlaw Ocean. It’s the
portion of the ocean that falls outside of national EEZs and is held in trust
by the UN under the Convention on the Law of the Sea as the Common Heritage of
Humankind. It covers 64% of the ocean and nearly half of the total surface of
the Earth. It’s also the region in which most major deep-sea mining ventures
intend to operate.
Ministry hints Putin’s Arctic ambitions are not realistic. There is unease in several Russian government ministries as officials start to understand that the President’s objectives for the Northern Sea Route can not be reached. The only way to please the president might be to expand the sea route itself.
The US Government enters it’s third week of shutdown over Trump’s Border Wall. Democrats in the House passing funding bills identical to the one unanimously passed by the Senate. Despite that, McConnell won’t let those funding bills come to a vote in his Senate. The Republicans own this travesty.
The secret on the ocean floor: the wild, weird origin of the modern deep-sea mining industry, complete with spies, Soviet submarines, and Howard Hughes. How much is real? How much is emergent from this first fake venture? If you only read one thing about deep-sea mining, read this.
We really misled a lot of people and it’s surprising that the story held together for so long”