Picture yourself on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Only the sound of waves crashing can be heard and there is absolutely nothing around you. I try to imagine myself in this scenario quite often. It tends to put the ocean for what it is into perspective for me. As vast as the ocean and complex as international ocean-related issues can be, the ocean plays an important role in life’s existence. Therefore, it must be treated as such. Unfortunately, society doesn’t appreciate or respect the ocean yet like it would a national park. For example, we continue to exploit the ocean for its resources and pollute our waterways with an abundance of trash, including absurd amounts of plastic. How do you protect part of the ocean that is so secluded? How do you fight for natural resource management in the ocean?
Related Topics: The ghosts in our ocean – Protect Ocean Resources – Designing Sustainable Seascapes – Taking Responsibility for our Oceans
I am thankful enough to put my passion for ocean conservation and policy through EarthX, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is worked towards creating awareness of international environmental issues and inspire action for a sustainable future. We pride ourselves in being the world’s largest environmental exposition, conference and film festival around Earth Day. EarthX is based out of Dallas, Texas. However, we still maintain a direct focus on EarthxOcean. This is a specific category in which we highlight a wide range of topics that adhere to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.
At Earthx2019, we hosted two distinct conferences for EarthxOcean. An Island Resilience Forum with UN Island Ambassadors in partnership with Island Resilience Partnership, GridMarket, GLISPA, March for Science, and the Pvblic Foundation. As well as an Inland Ocean Action Summit in partnership with Blue Frontier Campaign and the Inland Ocean Coalition. Out of these events, actionable outcomes resulted in renewable energy plans for Samoa and creating new Texas chapters of the Inland Ocean Coalition.
A Collaborative Approach to Tackling Ocean Issues
Ongoing collaboration is key to successfully addressing these issues in a way that can be shared. Major contributors to environmental change consist of diverse groups that pertain to numerous stakeholder’s agendas and interests. Especially when political leaders from multinational regions discuss important decisions that affect the world population. The process of engaging in these ocean topics has multifaceted components that determine the outcome of high-level policy. By creating partnerships, it is possible that tackling the driving forces of environmental protection and conservation will make a significant difference in our lifetime.
For Earthx2020, one theme we are focused on is the High Seas. I highly encourage everyone reading to follow the High Seas Alliance and the progress they are making towards establishing a treaty that would protect a major chunk (50%) of our planet which is righteously the ocean that is currently unregulated and unprotected. When you think of global commons, this remote region of the ocean suffers from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, deep seabed mining, and human interference which can cause additional pollution.
Involvement of Future Generations
Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the United States Forest Service once said, “Unless we practice conservation, those who come after us will have to pay the price of misery, degradation, and failure for the progress and prosperity of our day”. The concept Pinchot depicts is one that many fear will impact future generations if society doesn’t begin to implement action that drastically alters the way the human population functions. The lack of a quick, simple solution challenges us to think deeper and become collaborative.
I wanted to bring this idea back to my work at EarthX. I believe in solutions that start from our communities and work towards educating those around us. As Dallas becomes a “Millenial Magnet”, how could I bring this growing concern about our planet’s health to awareness? In response, I helped create EarthxYoungProfessionals. This exists to accomplish spreading the environmental movement and educational awareness towards sustainability for everyone in various industry sectors.
An Inclusive Conversation
The goal is to be inclusive for everyone that wants to get involved but doesn’t know where to begin. From the government to NGOs, corporations, and academia, we desire multiple stakeholders to be a part of the conversation. When it comes to creating a space for conversation, anyone is welcomed as someone who is interested. Whether it’s from the level of a climate crisis activist to someone who doesn’t know how to recycle properly – let’s be honest, that’s a lot of us – there is place in EarthxYoungProfessionals. The concept of attempting to solve the climate crisis can appear to be overwhelming with wide-ranging problems. We offer actionable approaches at a local level.
The environmental movement is currently being electrified by younger leaders who insist to have their voices heard and as a young woman trying to do the same, there is no time like the present. Thanks to social media platforms, sharing and documenting news from around the world is much easier than in past generations.
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Anyone Can Make a Change
We can now see how plastic production has destroyed our shorelines, marine wildlife, and that it has reached the deepest depths of the ocean. We must utilize these networks to organize, create campaigns, and to emphasize that this is a growing concern for our age group. From faraway ocean problems to local educational environmental awareness, everyone is capable of making a change. If you don’t see a cause or group you want to join, create it. Empower your voice regardless of your age, race, gender, or location.
In the Cover Picture: 9th Annual Hands Across the Sand to protest offshore drilling. Photo Credit: oolitka.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.