Hillary Clinton Speaks at the Partners Awards Gala
As the crowd applauded, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage at Oceana’s Partners Award Gala in Los Angeles. After thanking friends and supporters, Clinton spoke about the myriad problems facing the oceans that Oceana is fighting to change. “Unfortunately, “she said, “we humans continue to degrade our oceans through pollution, overfishing, and a pattern of careless neglect that rests on the false assumption that somehow the seas are invulnerable to us.”
But Clinton also reminded us that we shouldn’t fail to recognize our victories. “There has been progress,” she said. “More and more people appreciate what oceans mean to them and to humanity, as places where billions make their livelihoods, find their food, home to countless other species, as well as the front lines in the ongoing fight against climate change and environmental degradation.” Clinton noted that Oceana’s strength lies in asking the right questions, and then helping policy-makers find answers that will actually make a difference.
Drawing on her experience as Secretary of State, Clinton also spoke about how ocean conservation is an international issue, especially in the face of climate change and world hunger. Both challenges already affect millions of people across the world, and the oceans will play a critical role in humanity’s ability to meet those challenges.
Earlier that evening, Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless gave a presentation on Oceana’s recent successes, including the recovery of U.S. fish stocks. Clinton was especially heartened by this victory, she said, as it is partly the result of legislation signed in 1996 by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, which set the stage for the protection of more than 1 million square miles of marine habitat.
Clinton concluded by thanking Oceana and their generous supporters for their tireless efforts. “Oceana helps to focus the mind on what needs to be done,” she said, pointing politicians and decision-makers to the issues that matter most.
“I am here to say thank you,” Clinton said, “not only as an individual but as a former Secretary of State, for all the great work that you have done and will be doing.”
Watch a video of Clinton's speech here.
[Photo by Alex J. Berliner]