London, Star Wars Day, 2023 – Three of the world’s most infamous supervillains – Darth Vader, Dr Evil and Thanos – convened today at a deep sea mining summit in central London.
The terrible trio were reportedly excited by the prospect of meeting like-minded people who they felt would share their passion for large-scale destructive machinery and wiping out entire ecosystems. Darth Vader had insisted the three attend the conference instead of ‘making a fuss’ over him for Star Wars Day.
Known for his strong track record of destroying whole planets with his death star, Darth Vader said of the conference: “Light doesn’t penetrate the bottom of the ocean so it’s the perfect place for the dark side to operate.”
Dr. Evil flew in directly from his volcano-lair to tell conference goers that he felt the ocean could undoubtedly be exploited for personal gain “in excess of one million dollars”. He urged those in attendance to join him in his quest for global domination, promising riches and power beyond their wildest dreams.
Thanos was quieter, possibly a little overwhelmed by the number of attendees, but sources say he was overheard asking delegates for the location of the “precious stones”.
Walking onstage with Dr Evil and Thanos to address conference attendees during a Q&A, Darth Vader said: “I’m delighted to be here and to learn more about deep sea mining because together, we can destroy the oceans!”
The three left the conference to the sound of The Imperial March from Star Wars, played on the kazoo, and laughter from the audience.
Andrew Tobert, Greenpeace UK Oceans campaigner, said:
“Monetising the seabed might seem like a far-fetched, dastardly plan, but it’s worryingly real and the people trying to do it don’t wear obvious, villainous costumes. We have explored just 1% of the deep sea, on each visit discovering fascinating species found nowhere else on Earth – it’s one of our last untouched ecosystems. But it would be stripped bare by deep sea mining, causing irreversible damage to marine life. There’s no way it can be done sustainably.
“Companies from Samsung to Renault have called for a moratorium on deep sea mining. And governments from Europe to the Pacific are doing the same. It’s no surprise when the proposals read less like a business plan and more like a masterplan for ecological destruction. Deep sea mining poses untold threats to our already plundered oceans. It’s got to be stopped before it starts.”
The International Seabed Authority will meet in July where it faces commercial pressure to allow deep sea mining to start. From July any deep sea mining company can submit an application to start mining despite the absence of any rules or regulations to govern it and, thanks to the invocation of a controversial loophole, governments are legally obliged to “consider” it. The Metals Company, one of the most prominent and determined deep sea mining companies in the race, has stated it will put in an application this year.
Deep sea mining is a dangerous distraction from creating a truly green economy by profit-hungry companies wanting to make a quick buck. Vast areas of the deep ocean floor – one of the last untouched ecosystems on earth – would be stripped bare by deep sea mining, causing irreversible damage to marine life.
The UK government is currently supporting research into deep sea mining having approved exploratory deep sea mining licences 10 years ago to UK Seabed Resources (UKSR). The UK now sponsors some of the largest areas for deep sea mining exploration, covering 133,000km2 of the Pacific Ocean, through UKSR. That’s an area larger than the size of England.
But the rest of the world is waking up to the significance of the threat from deep sea mining. As well as leading green tech companies calling for a pause, many governments are saying no to deep sea mining. Recent months have also seen Indigenous advocates reject deep sea mining, scientific warnings of the risks grow ever stronger, and the longest-standing and biggest corporate backer of the industry call it quits. And just this week Maersk announced it was jumping ship, selling its stake in The Metals Company, and becoming the latest big name to divest from deep sea mining.