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  • Writer's pictureTrack Two

OCEANS 22: Day Three - At the Root and In the Current

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Sea Stars and anchored ice
Sea Stars and anchored ice (John Weller / Courtesy of ASOC)


Our good friend Joe Montville who coined the term "track-two diplomacy' always encouraged us to "follow the money." In the world of ocean protections just 1.6% of global philanthropic funding goes to "life below water." And yet the ocean blankets more than 70% of the earth's surface. The annual funding of ocean initiatives, the majority of these addressing basic pollutants, totals $25 billion whereas the annual fishery subsidy (an outdated statistic) is approximately $30 billion. The damage from over fishing - there once were 10 times the number of fish in the ocean than there are today - alone requires more than this subsidy to rectify!

Institutional philanthropies (foundations, corporates) generally do not finance ocean work. And rectifying climate change with the help of the ocean has only recently become part of the climate change discussion. Yet the imperative to understand, as example, how illegal and ocean-depleting whaling has impacted the whole, is costly. As Pascal Lamy mentioned, there are quantitative and qualitative gaps in ocean funding as well in research and restoration.

An effort to create a digital twin of the ocean is underway. It offers an opportunity to shed light on how human activity has affected the highly complex ocean. Currently, however, climate change and ocean conservation and protection are not discussed together. Scientists are siloed in their specialties. And the interaction of climate impacts, chemical pollution, over fishing and mining are not analyzed together.

The group was reminded that there is only one ocean, that we are all part of this earthly ecosystem and that interdependency is a fact of living, We are in essence an "ecological civilization" and in our drive to project protective power for the ocean, we must tie narratives together.

A team from Hack Club, including founder Zach Latta, Ella Xu, and Lachlan Campbell, described their work and asked poignant questions - Can the ocean protection community provide eager teenage programmers a clear path for helping? How would we

Lachlan Campbell at Oceans 22

spend $100 billion on ocean protections today if we had it? Would experts invent or purchase remote sensing devices for the deepest areas? What data would be collected? Would more MPAs, with annual operating costs of $1 to 3 million be implemented? Would the funds go towards reducing the illegal polluting, fishing and mining of the ocean?

And finally Genevieve Pons asked that we all consider working towards a healthy, peaceful Ocean by 2050.



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