Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sylvia Earle's clear message: Act now to save our oceans

Speaking at a roundtable with world governments in the Rio+20 process, world renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle urged world leaders to act now to save our oceans.

"I was here 20 years ago, we all hope to be here in 20 years. This is an historical occasion. Will we look back and lament on what we didn't do?"

"For the first time we are empowered with knowledge we didn't have 20,50 or 1000 years ago. This could be a true turning point, whether we act on that knowledge or neglect to take action. Technology and science make it clear our planet is not too big to fail. There are limits to our life support system.

"I therefore request that the 30 recommendations from the Dialogues be included in the report of this conference and become part of the permanent record.

"More than 63,000 people cast their votes as part of the Dialogues from 163 countries and I hope that you are listening. There were excellent ideas for forests, food, poverty, energy and economics. Please add those recommendations to the permanent record.

"One important recommendation concerns the blue half of our planet, the high seas. The blue half was neglected in 1992. Today the voice of the people must be heeded and that voice was heard during the dialogues. The language should be strengthened in regard to an implementing agreement for the high seas. This is a moment in time now we know that the ocean contains most of the diversity of life on earth. It is a global commons and we all have a vested interest.

"This is that moment, if we can be inspired while there is still time. Fifty, 100 or 1000 years from now, people will either look back and salute us or they will ask why we did not take action, when we knew?"

Photo courtesy of dsearls via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)