Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) have been set up to cover about 4% of the planet’s ocean, mostly in remote locations. The aim is to limit the impact of human activity on the natural diversity of life in the Earth’s hydrosphere from where organic life first emerged on Spaceship Earth. This article outlines several issues relating to this attempt to limit negative human impact (the Machine World intruding upon the Natural World) and provides a world map, updated to March 2016, to show the location of the MPAs. Like so many other attempts at conservation, this worthy trend may be too little, too late and also a matter of great indifference to the majority of the current 7.4 billion human passengers on the finite planet. The very existence of such huge numbers of humans (increasing to 9 billion by 2040) depends upon the natural ecosystems that provide the resources for the human-made support systems (the technosphere) that have allowed the exponential growth of population and wealth. The memosphere (the global realm of beliefs and knowledge) is dominated by anthropocentric assumptions that the planet simply exists for humans to use to produce limitless wealth (the expansionist Ideology of Power and Greed). This ideology has to be changed to a belief that humans must live sustainably within the limits of the Natural World. This means adopting an ethic of sufficiency to replace the fantasy of no limits.
Even Spacehip Earth’s vast oceans have their limits as recent publicity about the addition of trillions of plastic microbeads to the hydrosphere illustrates. The US and Canada have already legislated to ban the use of microbeads and the UK government is calling for a worldwide ban on the production and use of these incredients of cosmetics that find their way into the Earth’s oceans. No MPA, however well-policed, is immune to the intrusion of these indestructible human microbeads that harm marine life and enter the food chain. Of course, it would be much harder to legislate for bans on the pollutants (particulate and gaseous) that human activity is adding to the atmosphere. However, it is impossible to deny that microbeads are anthropogenic in origin. Denial of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) of the atmosphere due to pollutants is still in evidence despite many decades of research to the contrary!