Written by Fernanda Beirao.
From 15 to 16 September 2016, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington D.C. This conference was held in conjunction with the Sustainable Oceans Alliance and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service’s annual summit. Our Fernanda Beirao attended this conference which focused on key ocean issues of today including marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution and climate-related impacts of the ocean.
Secretary John Kerry stated that climate change is a matter of national and international security. In the same conference, leaders of different nations were present, including President of COP 21 Ségolène Royal, who reflected that the ocean is an important solution for global health, nourishment and most importantly, global climate change.
Kerry reminded the audience of the ripple of hope quote present in Robert F. Kennedy’s speech in 1966 at the University of Cape Town, in South Africa during the difficult years of Apartheid: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”. These ripples of hope can be applied to the environmental issues we face today on global climate change, ocean and biodiversity conservation. If the Paris Agreement can be considered the bold action leading to the first ripple, then rapid and intense new ripples need to appear right after it.
Here at Environment for Inclusion, we are looking forward to empowering community leaders and governments to make the ripples that are required to change the course of our planet and to develop a better tomorrow for our future generations.