The last week I had the privilege to be present at the Our Ocean Youth & Our Ocean conference in Malta. An important gathering by and for the world! Here high-level leaders came together to emphasize on the urgency of improving the health of our ocean. And to make commitments on what each one is going to do to really turn the tide! How was it?
A life-changing experience!
Not only for me, but for everyone living on this planet today! Really amazing to see such a big presence from presidents, ministers, EU, UN, ocean leaders and organisations from all over the world for the common goal of saving the ocean. Countries from all over the world have made big pledges to take the protection of the ocean to the highest level! 700 concrete, measurable and tracked commitments have been made! Since we’re ALL dependent on the ocean! And we have NO time to lose!
Read all the commitments
here. There’s still hope. We must save what’s left!
Powerful quotes, statements and food for thought from the summit:
“We know now what we could not know as a kid. We’re 8 million minds together! Our collective knowdlegde gathering capacity is a gift. We need to get better at caring and respecting. We really are sea creatures, without the ocean we cannot exist. Our life support system is grounded in the ocean. You may never touch the ocean, but the ocean touches you. We must be mindful of all actions you take. We have the power! We need to get better at caring and respecting. And we own it to the ocean. Don’t ever think it’s too late, until it’s too later.” Sylvia A. Earle of Mission Blue
“Paris & SDG 14 are critical in the survival of our species. We got to spread the word. And make ideas come to live!” – Peter Thomson. UN secretary General’s special Envoy for the Ocean.
“Our main challenge is awareness for collective change. We have to make it exciting and enticing to change behaviour.” – Frans Timmermans
Dr. Nathan Walworth from Covalence Life presented a powerful talk about the importance of the Circular Economy. “Is Climate change our biggest issue? Or is climate change a reflection of our deeper internal and external issues?” Do your habits reflect how you feel about the world?” How can we move toward a regenerative world?” “You are the future mindful culture and lifestyle for the planet: a regenerative lifestyle.” All SOA Youth participants were challenged to pick a topic and present the following day on their circular economy solution.
Oliver Steeds – CEO of Nekton (Deepsea technology and exploration) compared the ocean challenge and solution with a mountain. “Look at the challenge as climbing a mountain. Focus on 1 thing until you reach basecamp number 1. Then move on to the next basecamp.” Step by step we can make sustainable changes and reach for the top!
James Movick from the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency emphasized the importance of equity. Pacific Islanders are on the frontline feeling the effects of changes in the ocean. The islanders are highly dependent on the state of the ocean. But appetite from overseas is catching fish faster than they can rejuvenate. “Who’s equity are you looking after? How do we distribute the resource ecosystem? And how can we build equity felt by those on the ground?” As individuals, question where you fish is coming from. Is it legal?
Brett Jenks – CEO of Rare. “Everything what’s wrong with the world gives us the opportunity to change it, “There are so many reasons to celebrate. Given the evidence, we’re in a good place. But we have work to do!” Understanding how the minds works, is what’s going to change it.”
John Frank – Vice President EU Government affairs of Microsoft, mentioned that true fact that Ocean problems don’t happen in the ocean! He said the future is not inevitable. But each one of is is capable to bring something to the table. “Don’t just accept the future, go shape it,” – John Frank. Powerful!
“You are not apart from nature, you are part from nature!”Celine Cousteau
Choose the best YOU can in every situation! Above all…
“Make ocean action fun and stay healthy so that we can keep going for a long period of time!” Adrian Grenier Lonely Whale Foundation
A few takeaways from the Our Ocean conference 2017 in Malta:
- Climate Change is #1 on the agenda! Marine litter climbed high up the ladder for urgency! We must turn the plastic tide: government, business, and individuals!
- Major announcements for new Marine Protected Areas all over the world! (Currently, only 3.1% of the ocean are protected!)
- More than six billion euros committed by public and private actors!
- Sustainable Ocean Alliance announced the SOA Youth Ocean Solutions accelerator! A place for the youngsters to make the innovative ocean ideas happen
- Keywords! Blue and circular economy, innovation, and urgency!
- Acknowledgement of the importance of having more young ocean leaders.
It has been so empowering to be amongst others dedicating their lives to saving the ocean. Meet up, team up and taking action! We can’t settle for little improvements. Big changes must be made urgently so the next generations in every layer of our ecosystem can thrive too! We can do this! No one can do this alone, but ALL together we can!
I also really like to emphasize we really have NO time to lose! We don’t see it because we don’t live below the surface (at least most of us humans ;)). But we are all dependent on the ocean! For food, oxygen, jobs, health and happiness. The forests of the seas are dying, the ocean is becoming acid and species are getting lost. Ok. On to the good news -> there is still hope! But we must ALL take collective action. NOW!
What can YOU do? Make conscious decisions in every choice you’re making! What’s the best you can choose? Educate yourself. Ask questions. Be curious! Are you a sailor? Provision carefully. Are you a traveller? Pack with purpose. And explore the ocean! So you experience it’s magic! And it’s current state… Like, share and support the work of young ocean leaders which will help tremendously to keep us all going! Apply for the next Our Ocean conference in Bali!
Thanks everyone but especially all you youngsters (100 attendees from 50 different countries!) for showing up, sharing your energy for our common goal to protect the ocean. A massive shout out to Daniela & team of the Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA Youth) for enabling the younger ocean change makers to attend this event! And to all the new #ourocean friends I’ve made! Here’s a video compiled by SOA Youth and the 100 young ocean leaders taking action for the ocean and why.
Connect people to the ocean! When people can experience the ocean, they will love, understand, care, and act! I aim to help a lot in the awareness and education department by campaigning on social media, blogging, through the book I just wrote, with Ocean Nomad TV, , the build of a green Carriacou sailing sloop, and more ocean experiences in which you can take part! Stay tuned on this blog.
I just made the ocean adventure travel guide: OCEAN NOMAD available! I wrote this book with the aim to help more people experience the ocean. From experience comes awareness and excitement. From that, comes caring. Ocean Nomad helps others go on sailing adventures and also includes 60 pages of what’s actually happening to the oceans and what you can do as an individual.
No budget, no experience, no worries! Ocean Nomad provides the bearings to help the (aspiring) ocean adventurer catch a sailboat ride, safely and meaningfully. The official launch end of this month, of course, on a boat! You’re invited! You can already download the book or just have a free sneak peak. Or if you simply think this is cool but not for you, click here to tweet it to the world.
Now go out there, be curious and explore the ocean!
A few photo’s
Help raise awareness about this conference, the ocean, and the youth leaders by giving it a like or share. Thanks! If you like to receive updates on ocean adventure travel & conservation splashes, sign up for my once in a while Ocean Splash.