Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
How to Save an Ocean
How to Save an Ocean

Episode · 1 year ago

Letter From A Future Scientist | A Conversation With Dan Laffoley

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Since the format of our new podcast is conversational, our guests often share personal stories and unique insights about their professional experiences as well as their personal lives and the sources of their passion. In this conversation with Dan Laffoley, we are given a window into his childhood inspirations. Did you know that Dan wrote a letter to David Attenborough? Well, he did, and much to his surprise, he got a reply. Decades later, Dan is one of the leading global experts on ocean conservation. He has initiated, developed, collaborated, and consulted on a laundry list of projects that include Google Ocean, Blue Carbon, amplifying the importance of the High Seas, and the first Marine World Heritage App. He’s also played an essential role in, in his position as WCPA Marie Chair, to support Big Ocean’s bid to develop and co-publish with IUCN, Large-Scale Marine Protected Areas: Guidelines for design and management. Dan has also authored and co-authored numerous publications, and has been an advisor for countless boards, initiatives, and even a Netflix film! We think you save an ocean by… being Dan Laffoley.

And the issue is when we look at the ocean patient, the ocean patient is not well, it's got a fever and it's becoming breathless. And when you see that in an individual and they're trying to kind of go up as fly to step, you offer assistance, you offer help and you wonder if they're okay. And so it is with the ocean. As the name of the show implies, this season we're investigating an impossible question. How do you save an ocean? Not impossible because it can't be saved, but because there isn't a singular answer. You'll be listening to conversations with artists, wayfinders, scientists and practitioners, individuals united in their love for and dedication to the ocean. We hope that this show inspires you absolutely, but ultimately we hope it creates change in you in our communities, in our oceans. Thanks for listening. Obviously many people who would listen to this know who you are, but to pick a few things, you know, your your personal history is so deep and rich. You know, I don't know exactly what you might pick out, but in terms of those things that connected to large scale you know, it's been said there's a lot of initiatives that you've created that you know, kind of underpin what a lot of people think of as marine conservation. Looking at your bio, some of things that I thought were really interesting to was, you know, being chair of the international ocean acidification user group and what you did in two thousand and eleven to bring the High Seas Alliance together. And then you're you know, work over time for WCPA Marine and and really, you know, supporting people working in ocean conservation at all scales. But I think so much of your vision really was kind of our global ocean and raising people's awareness about the importance of oceans. But you know, for you personally, what might you pick kind of from your history that you feel is most connected to this, you know genre we're calling large scale marine protection? Well, I think when I look back over my career I've always sort of been grounded in or connected to the ocean. I grew up in Jersey in the channel islands. That's the the UK Channel Islands, not the American channel lines. I grew up in Jersey, which is only nine miles by six and you know, back in those days you nature was all around you and I spent most days after school on the beach and snow cling and just exploring the rookie shores and I will pulls and everything and as a child I think it kind of powers your imagination. And I lived on the same island as Gerald Durrell and Jersey Zoo and met him and it was at a time when David attenborough had his first series, when he'd been sort of rich stepped down as control of BBC two, on life on earth, and I think that sort of helped propel my my feelings and my connection to our whole ocean view, and that really has been sort of a theme throughout my career. The stuff that we did fairly early on with Sylvia l and then with Google to put a notion on Google Earth. This is when the Internet had only just sort of really got going and Google had merged from a garage in California, I think it was, and set up as a search engine and they they formed Google Earth. The challenge, of course, of Google Earth was it was great that they'd done a third of the job and put the land on, but the ocean was flat and blue and Silvia and I decided that really this wasn't good enough. One of the first meetings, the first meeting I think, when I became more in vice chair with Sylvia, and we decided we should try and do something about that, and that resulted in a...

...three dimensional ocean being put on Google Earth. It from three years to work out the technology of how to do that and then that then has lived on. So anyone who does a search on Google maps, for example, we'll see as d rendition of oceans. So we really did bring a perspective of the Ocean to the world and I think within a year or so we touched a fifth of the world's population and and now much, much more. It inspired other players to also get involved in that sort of three dimensional digital ocean space. And you know, so with technology as we challengers as well. What also became clear was that the ocean. Not Everything was going well in the ocean, and this was a long time ago now. This was back in two thousand and four I got a phone call from lady called Carol Turley at Plymouth Marine Laboratory saying I think you should come down, we should have a chat. We need to show you something. And this was just when they were discovering ocean acidification. Or surface ocean acidification, as it was called in those days, and it was when the film the day after tomorrow was about to come out and I stopped her halfway through as she was drawing chemical formulas on a white board on the wall and said, you know, I need to stop you. I feel like I'm going to be like that guy in the movie, I've seen the trailer, of getting this this clear picture of something that the world had missed, and this wasn't the first time that that then happened during my career. So we had ocean acidification, and this is how the oceans attending to Mord's more CIDIC condition, simply by the sheer volume of carbon dioxide that our activities are put up into the atmosphere. But also since then, a much more recently we realized, is that the ocean is heating quite considerably and it's also, as a result of that, losing its oxygen permanently, and there is a coincidence between how it's losing its oxygen and the the most productive fisheries areas in the world and indeed the largest single aggregated fishery in the world, which is for tuna. They'll all be affected and this kind of drives you, I think, it drives your ambitions, it drives your your real intent that we can't sleep walk ourselves into these nightmares human population. We can sit there being occupied with all the stuff around us on a daytoday basis, and yet we'd be sleepwalking into these nightmares. And so that that is what sort of driven me, I think, to really want to make a difference at the global scale and, of course, the job as Marian Vice Chair the World Commission on protected areas, for for our UCN, they go global conservation alliance enables me to be in a position where I can do something about it. You know, we were able to form the body called the High Seas Alliance to to look at how we get a conservation in place for half our world, that is, the ocean beyond national jurisdictions, and it's amazing to think in two thousand and twenty we still don't have a recognizable conservation framework for half our planet. You know, rain, it's yes, say you know, and this is where you guys came in. You know. Yeah, because what do you need? You need some cavalry, don't you? You need some cavalry in these situations. And and over the hill came yourselves, working on the very large moon protected areas, saying, you know, we want to we want to do some guidance. Who Want to do some guidelines? How can we help? And and and out of that being born a relationship that has not only produce global guidance but but I think is also helped, helped mobilize and drive well beyond the boundaries of perhaps what any of us thought at the start, into helping support, you know, the the global family now of Moon World Heritage sites. Many of your large sites are world heritage and and so so it has, you...

...know, I think, made a material of difference the work that you've been doing to raising raising our collective ambitions on of the art of what is possible. I love that. Well, that's I mean the art of what is possible and and I do agree with you. I think it takes cavalry, it takes trailblazers, maybe just, you know, bottom line, crazy people to jump into the free with a new idea. You know, some of the things that you were talking about in terms of what's driven you though, and I will definitely circle back to the guidelines and are more direct connection, but these things that have driven you to thoughts that you had, visions that you had from when you were a child through your early career, where you like you saw, you know, the threat and the need, the immediate need. What do you think, though? You know, back in two thousand, I say that just from a big ocean standpoint. I guess we really look at the Great Barrier Reef being there in one thousand nine hundred and seventy five, and then, you know, taking several decades, the point where Papahana Mukua Kea was established or, at that time, the northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Rie ECO system reserve. So you have one site and then you have to so kind of in our genealogy, if you will, we see that as the beginning of the genre, whether anyone really thought about it at that time as an emerging genre. But what in you from your perspective, though, because we're facing challenges again right we're people don't want to move into the unknown, but a few people at that point we're willing to move into the unknown. Like, what do you feel were some of the the key factors that made people take that jump too large? I think part of that was the fact that back then, I mean the Barery Weef did provide inspiration in many ways to a lot of people, but the rest of the world, a lot of the rest of the world, was doing pretty small scale stuff and you know, you looked at what was being done, and every step is welcome on these journeys, but you look at what was being done and there is a realization that you know, you look at land and the areas being being set aside. At land was so much bigger and it had taken us so long to get there. You know, some some say that yellow stone was one of the best ideas America ever had, but it was it was so long before that. And then the barrier weave came along and you looked at these things and you realize the needed to be another way of doing things at scale. We simply weren't going to get there. You know, back then we still had sort of like ten percent of any type of moving protected area targets, which are you know, actually that target itself deems back to one thousand nine hundred and eighty three, so it's a very old concept. But even then we were still not really going to get anywhere close to that and this. We did some big things and I think it you talked about, you know, the crazy people, the crazy plan. Well, the crazy people of crazy plan is only crazy till the next day when something happens. And you managed to put it in place and everyone of an inspirational step. I believe you've got to be pretty creatious to do that. And I think it was that dawning realization that not everything was going well and that we had to to do things differently. We had to scale up. The Barry Reef had kind of shown the way, but again, that was that was down to individuals, that was down partly a copinion. So when the Barrier Reef was formed, it was a I think it was a vult of equivalent of a public inquiry, as we would call it in the UK, into kind of mining opportunities and and the public voted with their feet and said No. And then, of course, how do you make this happen?...

And the likes of Graham Color Her the first Marien Vice Chair, in this this this short line that leads to what I've been doing. Graham was one of the kind of people who dit up and and help champion those things. And and you look at the scale ups and it is in a world of over six billion people. It just shows that individuals still make a difference. I love that and I'm seeing it in my mind as a visual you know that the individual person, one person, very small within this universe, you know, on the planet Earth for sure, but just in the cosmos, and the power that, you know, one voice can really have to make a difference is truly powerful. And I believe you're one of those people. And so what at this point? Like you were saying, it's really a family of large scale sites. We've gone from to, you know, right into or one in one thousand nine hundred and seventy five, to two and two thousand. That slowly grew to six, seven, eight ninet ten. At this point, I guess, to penning upon how you count large scale, whether you include, you know, high seas in the mix or networks. Were right around that, thirty two to thirty five, like a officially established, you know, large scale sites. At this point, what do you feel has been maybe the greatest achievement or milestone maybe that these sites, this aggregate, has produced thus far? And then what are you hoping might happen? Is it simply many more large scale sites or what do you think are kind of the next steps? You've got to put it in the context of five decades ago we look back at our planet for the first time with color resolution photos from another celestial body in in our galaxy, the Earth, the Moon, and we saw it as a blue planet and I don't think in those intervening decades we could have realized how how much and how far we changed that planet and particularly the blue bit. But what has been achieved is at the scale of looking back, you can you can see the achievements of attempts to try and protect it using very large scale and men protected areas, and I think that's astonishing that, against all the odds of the powers and the pressures of degradation, we can take these steps and we can do things at scale. And you've got to remember even now, when we look at me eating the ten percent target, that majority of that target is made up of what is contained in these very large, we protected areas. It doesn't mean yes, yeah, it doesn't mean that small sites aren't important. They can be critically important and it's actually that that mix that we need of very small to very large. But when you you actually look at the the meeting of the target. Then this trend for very large moon protected areas, where we're protecting entire seascapes, entire ecosystems, but we're also protecting ourselves from our own ignorance, because the the the problem with smaller scales moving protected areas is it seems every single frond of Kelp, every Seachin is argued over and you have to demonstrate value when in actual fact the the ocean, has an inherent value to all of us. It's the great regulator. Without the ocean right now, because a climate change, this planet would be largely uninhabitable. It's the ocean that keeps the conditions just constant over over Millennia. And we know if it gets too warm, species die, if it gets too cold, species dying. It's the ocean that keeps it just that way. And so when you look to the future and say what do we need to do, we need to do more and then some of what you guys have been leading the charge on over the past decade or two, and it will be that that will make a difference. You know, it is the the yellow...

...stones of the ocean, as I sometimes call it, where you know, as I said earlier, you you look back and you you look at places like yellowstone, these very early parks where we didn't do a bio geographical analysis of a miracle. It was a bloody good idea and you put it in that place and it was for people to enjoy, you know, enjoy and and being with nature. And I think you know, we haven't mentioned it yet, but obviously we have the pandemic going off at the at the moment and and I think this has reminded people about connections to nature seethe the soul. You know, when there was a possibility that the parks would be closed because people might congregating parks, there was a political outcry actually that they should be kept open because it was the places where people could we connect and to and help themselves over their mental health of being cooped up inside all this time. And so you look at these things and you go or what should we do? Well, we should protect a lot more of it, because it's the systems that keep us alive. No, you know, and now that you've brought up the pandemic, I was going to kind of transition into the next question in a different way, but I do think that that is really a powerful statement in terms of, you know, when you're cut off from a resource that is truly about like a holistic sense of wellness. Like, yes, the planet feeds us, but there is this, if you want to call that, you know, spiritual at the soul level, something that really feeds us as as human beings. And so in this area of large scale what I've seen kind of coming and talked about by various colleagues. One of them in particular was sue ti a about, you know, this whole idea of whole easy management, and so I think that really speaks to yes, we can have protected areas, but we really want to move beyond this idea that we're just going to do all the good things within the boundaries right and and not really care about what happens outside of it. It really is a mind shift of how we manage all of our resources. So do you have any thoughts about kind of the future of protected areas versus really just collectively and holistically managing all of our resources with a different kind of mindset? What is the role, do you feel protected areas in the future? Well, I I think there's some very clear things that we need to do but but if we sort of start in a sense where you started, you know, took mentioning the pandemic and stuff, I think there are also some very strong parallels. So we now have a global pandemic, that is that is roaring around the world and destabilizing people society's economies. But we were warned. You know, there is a there is a lot of analysis which has gone on showing that within the last decade or so, the the attempts for for these viruses to break through into the human population were appearing with increasing frequency. Before covid nineteen, we had tars, we have Moos, we had various others, and you can look at a graph of increasing frequency of these major medical, if you can call it that, perturbatitions and warning signs. And you look at the ocean, and I mentioned that the ten percent target is from one thousand nine hundred and eighty three. It was the Third World Parks Congress and it was so long ago that that was actually the meeting that we as as our UCN. We won't even call that then. We've changed our name since then, but it was so long ago that that was the meeting that we decided to coin the term protected areas, if rather than parks. And then when you look in terms of the parallel one of we started to see...

...large scale challenges and problems with the ocean. Well, two thousand and four we found that the oceans were measurably acidifying. Two Thousand and sixteen we found that in actual fact the oceans were were considerably heating. Over ninety percent of the heat from our greenhouse gas was bolting from our activities. That warming has gone into the ocean. And it was two thousand and nineteen when we've really realized that this is also driving the oxygen out the ocean in a measurable way, up to twenty three, thousand and forty in some cases, fifty percent permanently in some areas, and we're still wondering whether we're doing enough. I think the the real issue is that we need a complete change of mentality. I mean it's still via earl who says how much of your heart would you protect? Ten percent, MMM percent, thirty percent? Well know, you protect all your heart. And the issue is when we look at the ocean patient, the ocean patient is is is not well. You know, it's got to sit a cirkosis it's it's got a fever and it's becoming breathless. And when you see that in an individual and they're trying to kind of go up as flight of steps, you you offer assistance, you offer help and you wonder if they're okay. And so it is with the ocean. You know, we countries are struggling to to explain how they protected ten percent with any form of protection. But when you look at the high levels of protection, that is much, much lower. And so there is there are some real sort of sea changes that we need to bring in in terms of our approach and in terms of the actions. You know, action speak louder than words, and I think it is the fact that we need to protect much more at scale. But there is a danger in this, as I said before, that you, if you don't do do more, you create islands of hope and the see of despair. And when I mean by that is the pressures just simply continue and what you actually want to do is protect the whole ocean, which means perhaps at least thirty percent needs to be in in strict and high levels of protection where we actually stop doing things, because it's in our interest to stop doing things. You might have another twenty, perhaps more percent, which is in those areas that no now so hopelessly compromise that the previous approaches to management simply won't work. When we think of all the kelp forests which are now simply been burnt out by the heat of the sea water, we think of all the girl reefs that have repeating bleaching events that are too frequent for the reefs to survive, we're going to have to do get things differently in those areas. And it's not just about moon protected areas of it's about much more than that. And then, if we look at the whole ocean, can we really justify taking even more out the whole ocean? And now the idea from people like the deep sea mining that that you need to dig up the ocean to make more electric car batteries. No, we need to recycle more and we need to respect the ocean more. So it's going to be those changes that make a difference and the in in a way, the exciting thing about this, in the middle of all these challenges, is history has shown that we know how to scale up. That's the work you guys have been doing and we know that these things are possible. We know from the work we've been doing with the high sees alliance, where they say you're kind of mad, you want to get over thirty and shows all to work together. Well, you know they're right. All working together, trying to drive the United Nations to make better decisions. So so to there is hope in the middle of all this bleakness and I hope that in one way, what the pandemic has done, and I think it has done in a number of people's minds, is give us, give ourselves the opportunity to press the pause button. It wasn't given to us, it was imposed on us, but it does. It does make us think about our relationship...

...to nature on this planet, because unless we have regard to these warning signs, what everyone now knows is that unless you try and live more in harmony with nature, nature can turn around and bite you and it can change all our lives absolutely, absolutely well, you know, with that in mind, this kind of turned towards the guidelines, volume twenty six, right in the best the protective yeah, yes, in the other I see in series that you really, you know, champions. I think big oceans push to make those guidelines happen and you guys have guideline and many different areas of conservation, but specifically to large scale. We knew the moment that it was published it was we're going to need to add on. The field is still very nascent. With that said, I do think it is this concept of best practice and really looking, like you were saying, at how we care for the entire ocean as we've continued to move forward. Some of the areas of those guidelines that were really, I guess, the most sparse are things like, you know, financing and sustainable financing. And what do you feel is even the role of not just NGO's but nations to work together to really invest more in not just conservation but namely the ocean space, like you were saying, that the pivotal role that the ocean plays to our climate, you know, to to really to all of conservation. What do you think some of the next steps are? Is it collaborating? Is it money? Is it mindset? It just feels, though, like sustainable financing is really a key component of ensuring that there is actual best practice management in place. Well, I think you know, you look, you look at the guidelines and those guidelines are. You know, the reason why I strongly championed them was because it is is about making the in some people's minds impossible possible, you know, protecting things at such vast scale, and people go, we couldn't, we can't do that, it's too difficult. And so the guidelines really important as an it as a kind of evolving step to show people it is possible and to show that it isn't just the very reef that they may be. You know here through the media, there all these other places that are doing it, and so it is about providing hope, but in a way in which people can can engage with that hope so they can take meaningful steps. So that's why those guidelines were particularly important, because it was the first real attempt to produce some guidance that looked at scale and scaling up. We produced a lot of guidance which is about what armoring protected areas, what are the different types of management, what are the issues you need to consider in setting up networks, representivity, connectedness, all this sort of stuff. But but it really was a case that in this area it was important to bottle that up and share that around with things like the High Seas Alliance. There is only one high seas and you get one going. I think it has been successful. We've got over thirty incredible organizations working together, sharing intelligence information, driving that forwards and there's a danger with we're very large US marine protected areas, that it lives off its own reputation, which is great, but what we need to do is collectively list the ambitions of the world to do these things and then so that's that's part of it and I guess the other part is in terms of people seeing the benefit and investing. But I do think that we need to to think of different ways to invest. You know, the...

...the problem right now with the world has been, and it may not be after the pandemic, but it has been well, we want everything now and we want tangible results now and you know, we I. Want to get reelected in the next three years type thing from the politicians. Well, nature and the world doesn't work like that and what the pandemic has shown is that even the countries with the with the best prepared systems, still spluttered and faltered. And you know, inquiries will see tellers what we could have done better afterwards, but certainly we hadn't invested in the risks that we had, we had created by disconnecting with nature and pushing nature in the way that we did it, and that means that you've got to have a different investment mentality around these things, which is partly what I think is driving a number of people in many countries to think about green recovery. Can we really just keep doing more of the same and expect a different result? After all, that's what Einstein used as a definition of insanity. And so the issue is that we need to think of how we invest in a better way and we need to protect the systems that keep us alive, and it needs to be done in a in a much higher level, more integrated way. So we talked earlier about the fact that we need to not just create man protected areas as islands of hope in a see of despair, but we need to deal with the overall see, the overall ocean. Lift those ambitions. It's not a question of making space for nature, and nature should be the predominant drivers and forces and we should cautiously make space for what we take from the ocean. We need to change and reverse out equation and then I think, well, we also need to do is realize that just as we might put a put aside in our lives, money for that rainy day, for the unexpected, and I think what the pandemic has shown is sometimes those rainy days arrived, sometimes you get wet, and so the issue here is that we need to actually realize that perhaps simply investing at scale in the ocean will ultimately for us, return some of the bigger dividends. If we try and analyze it, will analyze ourselves out of that investment. We are left floundering when the when the big challenges arrive, and we know for the ocean. So in the same way we had warning signs about the pandemic and attempts at viruses to leave across the humans before that, we know the ocean. The warning signs are clearly that I mean. I think it's remarkable since one thousand nine hundred and ninety we've actually day data from thousands of observations in the Ocean Show we've now actually changed the speed of the large currents in the ocean by fifteen percent as a result of our activities. We have those warning signs very clearly and we will need to invest in a different way, and it may not be an investment that is one where, you know, you get an immediate return in a politician's lifetime, but it is the investments that people will remember people from for making a long time after they've passed away. You know, after all, history doesn't remember the names of people on Steering Committees. It remembers the names people who do bold and creates decisions. And so as we recover from the pandemic, we need some bold and creates decisions by leaders to invest much more wisely and better in nature. I thank you for that. That is you are preaching to the choir, but I truly hold that right. But, but I mean that, Tho was one of the reasons why I asked you to, you know, be one of our guests for this series, because you're awareness of of communication and the importance to be able to convey messages and...

...talking points in a way where people can literally, they can truly visualize what you're saying and feel that viscerally. You know, I people act when they feel that they've connected to a message on a really deep level. With that said, right, you know, grabbing people and really inspiring them to act. If we're looking at the next generation, which is, you know, another component of conservation that I know you've been really passionate about, and I don't mean just kind of the next generation more broadly, but specifically in conservation and marine conservation. You know, what would you say we really need for this next generation, this skill set that I feel at this point has to move beyond just the understanding of science. There really is something to this component of being able to communicate critical information and to engage with community in really meaningful ways. But I also you know, there's a whole suite of skills that they need. So, from your perspective, what do we really need in this next generation of conservation managers? I think we've actually got a lot of it. I think we need I think we need to listen, you know. I mean the fact is you look at the climate strikes and another similar types of things and and the next generation is out on the streets and out on the street saying more or less will you not listen? You know, they are the people that are load of them will be the people who will run the systems in the future and the the opportunity here is to try and make some of those changes earlier so that we we by ourselves more time or we we we act in a way prevents as making some of the more silly decisions that we make in our lives in terms of pushing the environment. And I think listening is important, particularly important. One of the things is, you know that I've don't quite a lot of his is help kind of leaders of the next generation engage with the the older people of my generation if you like. You know, there is a striking thing that you look at the boards of many of the the NGO's, the large NGO's, you look at iucn and others, and it's to be to be blunt, it's old people on these boards, you know, and there's almost an arrogance that well, we must know best because we've been around so long. But there is also a thing which says people get set in their ways and it's quite difficult to change them. So I do think that we need a much better mix of young and old. After all, how many times do you hear a people saying, well, I had to get my grandson along to set up the video linking stuff because I don't really understand the technology. And and and so we rely almost subconsciously on the next generation to help the the older generations cope with the new technology, which is how the messages get communicated and get out there. So I do think it's not to say that wisdom isn't important gained over the years, but put them together and it can be a very powerful equation. So I do think that we need to to think very hard about how we do these things. I do think also it is about individuals. Again, it's about the fact you know, when I mentioned when I grew up in Jersey and David attenborough had life on earth on the BBC and I was incredibly enthusiastic young naturalist in those days and I wrote to him and David Adam will wrote back. He wrote a hand written letter back. Oh yeah, and I was like, I was able I met him some years ago and just me Sylvia Earl and his producer and I was able to account the...

...story to him, which I think he was quite touched by the fact I said, you know, it's part of because of you that I'm actually standing here doing this stuff, because you you took the time, unimaginably, to to write a handwritten letter to to encourage me sort of thing. And so you know I try wherever possible, when you know, I'm contacted by students and things, to see if I can help and what I can do, and I do think that is part of passing the baton. I do think it is. You know, even in the busy, busy world we all live in, take the time engage, discuss, encourage support, because that's how we're going to build a build a stronger future more quickly, by by really really engaging and listening. I really appreciate that insight. If we look back at our entire conversation, so many of your comments have really been you know, we knew or you know there was evidence from or people pulled you aside to come and see and look and listen, and there really is something about observing, being thoughtful listening. So many times we really are given the information, the answers, as I said, ourselves on the right course, right and when we just we don't we we aren't always conscious of that. No, I know, and I thought. There's one other thing, I guess, which is the fact that even now I think we need to redouble our efforts to equip people, equip the younger generation and equip people to be able to do things. You know, I think the the we've created an amazing art to be able to show people in pictures and films, with amazing narratives over the top, not just our natural world but increasingly now, how our natural world is really being hopelessly compromised by our activities. The problem is, how do you you make that attractable issue to enable many more people to engage? I think when you don't, the system creates opportunities, like the climate strikes, for people to engage, but they're they're really sort of expressing their concern and we need to think much harder about how we engage people, especially for the open ocean and the remote ocean. You know, there's still I think there is the still men, the mentality of the countries that want to exploit regardless of the cost, that they believe they can hide out in these places and they can make decisions behind closed doors and I think you know, the the the Enngo's and others have done, you know, tremendous service to try and hold them to account. But we need to make it even more visible for people because I think people, people are pretty sensible in their lives in thinking about what we should what we should tackle and what we should protect. But we've got to we've got to work harder as a community to enable people to actually be able to engage in those processes. And it is quite difficult when when some of these places are very remote. But I don't think it's beyond the the the art of the possible, to work out how we we capture the the concern and channel it into even more action. I think the world would be I don't I still don't think the world fully understands it. Half the world doesn't really have a conservation framework. Well, yes, exactly, and I think your words and this concept of remote and people being able to make a connection to these spaces. You know, I'm thinking of Papahanam Quoqua, where it Leachs from through a cultural lens and native whine Cultural Lens. Yes, that is the most remote three force of the remotest...

...remote archipelago in the world and yet from a native whine cultural view, that place is populated. It may not be peopled right, but it is populated with ancestors. And not that that has to be the narrative for everybody, but it's like if people can see these spaces as having as being connected right that as as an importance for them as humans, as humanity, that there is something in these spaces, even if we can't see them, that is very integral to the wellness in our daily lives. That's where I think we can you know, I don't know exactly how that will play out. We have many different cultures and mindsets around the world, but this whole idea of remote you know, I think it really is all of us coming together and finding ways to connect and looking at these spaces, you know, through through a different Lens, talking to people, connecting with each other, and I guess it really comes back to this many times. To rate, it's not that the planet really needs managing its people and it's all about people, you know I mean. But in in in the late s early S, I went to the bary reef on a Winston Churchill Fellowship and, you know, one of the welst you know, I got a lot of support to do that. You know, people thought, you know, that's a good idea. There were people who said, well, why are you going there? It's coral and the UK doesn't have coral, and I said Australia's got people and we've got people and you know, it's all about people, and it really is all about people, and it's about people speaking to people early enough and oftenough and sharing and listening and trying to to reach the best decisions you can in terms of how, how and what we need to do as we move forward. I think it is, you know, also about reflecting, as I said earlier, about our our relationship with nature. I guess we've been through a kind of era, almost, of kind of arrogance where, you know, if we wanted to fly, we didn't wait for millions of years. While we develop wings, we build air planes, you know, and so we've become independent from evolution and I think the challenge of that is it brings with with that a sort of feeling that everything will be okay, and I think we've also had that feeling from people who say, well, we can continue exploiting the ocean because it will recover, sort of thing. Well, you know what, what the pandemic shows is sometimes as a global reset, and quite how how much of everything will return after it, I don't know. And I think the ocean is the same that. If you actually don't respect it and don't look at it, and it's inherent values which I think are more difficult for politicians to to grasp than the the the the dollar extracted, if I can call it that. If we don't look at those things, we almost inevitably are going to see some very large scale changes and and it will be that situation where this isn't going to be a slow, gradual thing. The signals are our impacts are accelerating and we will, we will see some some step changes in that. And we're only as good as what we know and were the changes were putting into the ocean are bigger than since humans have been around on earth, to be blunt, and the issue is that we we we won't know until we know it and it's it's best not to push an actual systems that hard. And so looking at these these values and getting an appreciation that all the ocean is important, I think will become become fundamental. As I said earlier, a different way of investing in nature will be needed to make sure that we stay within reasonable bounds.

In quite clearly, both in terms of things like the trade and wildlife. Were Way way way path what a reasonable bounds. And so with our treatment of the ocean, as well. You know what, I'm going to leave it right there down. I so appreciate that you gave your valuable time today this whole idea of it's all about people. I'm super grateful that you're a person in my life and you're somebody who continues to invest your time and energy and making a difference for the ocean and for humanity. So I appreciate you journing me today. Thank you very much. A special thanks to big ocean conservation international, the Ocean Foundation and Blue Nature Alliance for making the show possible. For more information, check out big ocean managers dot Org.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (10)