Spotlight: Bryan Madera, Manila, Philippines
Spotlight: Raul Jimenez Maldonado, 26, Queretaro, Mexico
This week, we are highlighting our second area of action: Marine Pollution.
Virtually all the world’s ocean areas are affected by pollution. Pollution harms life in the sea, threatens human health and livelihoods, and reduces the availability of clean and healthy seafood.
Marine pollution is causing major ecological shifts, serious losses of biodiversity and reduced commercial yields. The amount of plastic litter in the ocean is rapidly increasing. Higher levels of nutrients and wastewater are leaking into the ocean because of climate change and coastal degradation. The result is large dead zones where there is no oxygen. Contaminants such as heavy metals, which accumulate through the food chain, or bacterial loads in coastal waters directly affect the health of millions of people. Larger items such as lost containers and fishing gear also cause a range of problems.
Still, there are large areas of the ocean with an abundance of marine life. Through global cooperation and local action, significant progress has been made in reducing the levels of some harmful substances. At the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2017, the world agreed on a long-term goal of eliminating all discharges of plastic into the ocean. However, if we are to achieve this goal, we need a global framework to coordinate and guide our common efforts. More action is also needed to reduce other pollutants, such as nutrients and wastewater.
Speaking of global framework, I am pleased to introduce you to Raul, a mechatronics engineer by training and a lifelong philanthropist and entrepreneur by heart.
Spotlight: Jennifer Lamy, 28, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
With less than a month left until the Our Ocean Conference, we want to take the opportunity to highlight one of the six areas of action that the conference will dive deeply into: sustainable fisheries.
One billion people, largely in developing countries, rely on seafood as their primary source of animal protein. Millions of jobs around the world depend on fisheries, aquaculture, and their global markets. Seafood is the most traded food commodity in the world and an integral part of many people’s livelihoods.
A growing world population, pollution, and habitat degradation are putting further strain on fish stocks and threaten the integrity of entire marine ecosystems. Traditional fishing and fishery-dependent communities are particularly vulnerable. This is threatening sustainability, global food security, and whole marine ecosystems and coastal ecosystems. At the same time, the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is siphoning off around EUR 10 billion annually (around 15 % of the global catch).
All of this leads us to Boston, Massachusetts where we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer and share with you the work she is doing around plant-and-cell-based food.
Spotlight: Aimee Clark, 21, Wellington, New Zealand
The Our Ocean conferences were initiated by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014, with the aim to put oceans on the foreign policy agenda and to create a platform where leaders from government, business, and civil society meet on an equal footing to promote action and innovation for clean, healthy, and productive oceans. SOA is the official youth partner to the summit, and produces the Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit.
This year's conference in Oslo will highlight the importance of knowledge as the basis of policies to ensure sustainable future economic growth, and will emphasize integrated management of sea and coastal areas as the key to oceanic protection and sustainable use.
At the core of the Our Ocean conferences are voluntary commitments for significant and meaningful actions towards a clean, healthy and productive ocean. Previous conferences have resulted in nearly one thousand commitments.
Today, we are highlighting Aimee Clark, who will be joining attendees of all ages, from all over the world, who care deeply about ocean health.
Spotlight: Patrick Cage, 27, California, United States
As an integral part of the Our Ocean Conference, Sustainable Ocean Alliance and the University of Tromsø will co-host in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the fourth Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit, which will take place in Oslo, Norway in just 45 days. The summit is an opportunity to inspire, inform, and empower youth participants to build holistic solutions that better balance the needs of society, industry and the ocean environment.
And speaking of inspiration, we are thrilled to introduce you to another inspiring young ocean leader, Patrick Cage.
Spotlight: Ifeoluwa Omoyeni, 24, Lagos State, Nigeria
Today’s oceans are a critically important component of the Earth system, supporting our ecosystem and human health. They regulate the weather and climate, provide food and other resources (like medicine), provide trade and migration routes and create jobs. Did you know that fisheries alone support 170+ million jobs?
If you ask our founder and CEO, Daniela Fernandez, she will tell you, “The challenges that were promised to future generations, are taking place today.” With 70% of the Earth’s surface covered by oceans, we can’t wait on others to step up to the plate to do something. It’s up to us and that’s exactly what the young ocean leaders of Sustainable Ocean Alliance are doing. Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce you to Ifeoluwa Omoyeni!
Spotlight: Marina Porto, 24, São Paulo, BrazilWe are just 65 days away from the Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit 2019 conference and we can hardly contain our excitement. The summit will bring together international leaders from governments, businesses, research institutions, universities and active, ocean leaders including young ocean leader, Marina Porto. She is just 24 years old, hails from São Paulo, Brazil, and is absolutely committed to a sustainable future for our ocean. We can’t wait for you to meet her by reading her interview below.