Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been busy building momentum to protect the oceans for generations to come. Next week, the U.S. Department of State will host the first “Our Ocean” conference, an event where prominent scientists, world leaders, and conservationists will converge to tackle some of the biggest threats facing the oceans today. The invitation-only conference will be held on Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17 in Washington D.C.
Through a series of talks and panel discussions, “Our Ocean” will focus on three major threats facing the oceans today—sustainable fisheries, ocean acidification, and marine pollution—with a conference goal “to promote a healthier planet by creating a healthier ocean.” Oceana campaigns year-around for these conference pillars, especially sustainable fisheries. The conference website offers a wealth of information on these topics, including videos and background documents.
Oceana board member and actor Ted Danson will speak to the distinguished audience during a Monday evening dinner at Sant Ocean Hall in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which will also feature remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, Smithsonian Institution Secretary Wayne Clough, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, and sustainable seafood chef Barton Seaver.
In a blog recently published by The Huffington Post, Kerry stressed some of the biggest problems humans have caused for the oceans—like garbage patches and illegal fishing—and called on the world’s leaders to address them with help from the private sector. That’s why, he said, he’s created the first international conference to spotlight these problems.
“The warning could not be starker: Unless these trends are reversed, the effects across the planet will be profound. The damage will be felt whether you live on a coastline or hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean's edge,” wrote Kerry. “The ocean produces half the world's oxygen, creates the clouds that bring fresh water and regulates our climate. More than a billion people eat fish for their primary source of protein. Fishing is a $500 billion global industry, and one in six jobs is marine-related in the United States.”
Check out the video below to learn more, and you can follow the conference on Twitter next week using the hashtag #OurOcean2014.