Author: Sigourney Weaver
I am still awed by the oceans, but I am also alarmed by their fate. Over the years, I have witnessed the steady decline of the dolphins that used to chase our boat, the fish that I could land, and the plentiful shellfish I took for granted. The oceans of my childhood have been overfished, polluted, and strewn with plastic waste.
We know how to turn the tide on these challenges. Solutions already exist, but the scale of the problem requires bold and resolute action.
I am proud to say America is demonstrating that kind of leadership. US Secretary of State John Kerry held a high-level conference on the oceans last week that prompted many countries, companies, foundations, and nonprofit groups to make important commitments to protect and restore the oceans.
Here at home, President Obama announced that the US will expand — perhaps dramatically — a network of protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. This is a wild and bountiful area largely untouched by bottom trawlers, oil spills, massive dead zones, and other evidence of human abuse. The president’s plan for protecting more of these waters is a potentially major step forward.
The Kerry conference and President Obama’s announcement send an important signal to the world that oceans matter and warrant our immediate attention. If fully implemented, the actions announced last week will go a long way toward protecting ocean waters, especially those under the jurisdiction of individual countries.