Blue Vision’s Wave of Activists
Ocean and Coastal advocates from across the nation and our blue world converged on Washington DC May 11-14 for an inspired week of action, education, citizen lobbying and celebration. Here’s a brief summary of what occurred at the 5th Blue Vision Summit and the 8th annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards.
Following an all-day ‘Blue Mind’ Seminar BVS5 opened with an evening ‘Celebration of the Sea’ for more than 300 ocean citizens including Ralph Nader, Rep. Sam Farr and Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz who discussed how to build the ocean movement (hint, start local and build broad coalitions like with the clean-up of Boston Harbor or the California fight against offshore oil, be persistent in your organizing efforts). Explorers Fabien Cousteau and Paul Rose of Nat Geo gave lively presentations on conservation and exploration although I was jealous that Paul got to harass polar bears with camera drones while I spent the last six months organizing conference events. The evening continued with schooling behavior around the food, drink, art, photography and nine ‘Writers for the Sea’ doing book signings for works ranging from ‘War of the Whales,’ to ‘Lunch wore a Speedo.’
Tuesday’s Summit workday included ‘State of the Seas’ talks by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (the Ocean State), NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathy Sullivan, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of the Waitt Institute and U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft who pulled no punches about the risks of operating in the Arctic, warning of a “black swan” incident — a disaster of historic proportion — if an oil spill or shipwreck were to occur there, because there would be no way to effectively respond to it.
This was followed by a day of conversations and panels by leading voices for the ocean such as Dr. Jeremy Jackson, NYC Councilman Donovan —> Read More