Ideas

To restore and protect the ocean, we need both bold new ideas and better amplification of what’s already working. In pursuit of ocean justice, we maintain a focus on urban ocean conservation, and grapple with how to shift human behavior, corporate practices, and political will towards sustainability.





Ocean Justice

The Need for Ocean Justice

Who benefits from ocean exploitation and from conservation, and who gets screwed?

For decades, communities and activists have been fighting for environmental justice. It’s no coincidence that garbage dumps, power plants, pipelines, and Superfund sites are generally found in poor neighborhoods, and often in communities of color. These populations endure disproportionate exposure to toxic air, land, and water. New Orleans, Flint, Standing Rock, and countless others exemplify the need to prevent such communities from bearing the brunt of environmental devastation.

This need for an environmental justice movement extends to the coastline and beneath the ocean’s surface. Threats to ocean health tend to impact marginalized communities first and worst, but no one is immune. A healthy ocean is critical to our well-being, economies, and cultures. Overfishing leads to food insecurity, lost jobs, slavery, and piracy.

Pollution leads to unsafe water, unhealthy seafood, dead zones, fish kills, and beaches covered in trash. Coastal development results in privatization and loss of habitats that provide protection from storms. Climate change forces entire communities to relocate due to sea-level rise.

Another future is possible — one of ocean justice — and we will help it emerge. Ocean conservation is a social justice issue.

*Note: Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency)

For more on environmental justice see:

Organizations:





Urban Ocean

Coastal cities need ocean conservation

The human population is 7.5 billion and counting, and a large and growing portion of us live near the coast. Most of the world’s large cities are coastal, their growth fueled by ports. So it’s critical to figure out what urban ocean conservation looks like. Since we are headquartered in New York City, we are starting here. Compared to the residents of other coastal cities, New Yorkers are woefully disconnected from their waters.

We are gearing up to host an array of events to educate New Yorkers about the vibrant marine life in the waters around them. We will show them how the ocean affects their lives and how their actions affect the ocean. We need to build an ocean ethos.

The Hudson and East Rivers are cleaner now than they have been in 100 years. Whales are returning to the harbor. Seahorses are living under the piers. Oysters (water filterers extraordinaire) are being replanted. With redoubled efforts, the waters around NYC could once again become resplendent with life.

In the worlds of food (sustainable seafood!), fashion, and art, NYC is a cultural arbiter, but it is not (yet!) a global leader in sustainability and conservation. NYC can learn a lot from initiatives in other coastal cities. And successful ocean conservation efforts in NYC could become a much-needed model for urban ocean conservation across the globe.

  • Overfishing
  • Pollution
  • Coastal Development
  • Climate Change

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