“Over the last two years, a positive wave of ocean action has been sweeping the planet. Its momentum offers the most powerful opportunity in recent memory to improve humanity’s relationship with the ocean,” says Peter Thomson, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and co-chair of Friends of Ocean Action at the World Economic Forum.

“Basically, the ocean and climate change are inextricably entwined. The good news is that recently there’s been a surge of engagement in ocean conservation and the development of a truly sustainable ocean economy that recognizes this reality. Corporations and banks now see the wisdom of being in on the action. Ocean-related start-ups and innovation are flourishing. The ongoing work of philanthropies, NGOs, and civil society is compounding. Ocean science is receiving more attention than ever before in human history, and despite current geopolitical tensions, there has been remarkable momentum on the ocean front in international arenas,” says Thomson.

He goes on to add:

“Based on the findings of Earth scientists and meteorologists, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres declared a red alert for humanity back in 2021, and things have only worsened since then. The most recent forecasts show we are on track for about 3°C global warming within the lives of our grandchildren. That is an unacceptable world of plague, fire, famine, and ferocious storms. Indeed, at the U.N. Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Guterres deeply apologized to the youth of the world for the dystopian future our generation has been preparing for them, and promised to spend his remaining years working in partnership with young people to work towards the 1.5°C warming goal. He has since conveyed throughout the U.N. system that henceforth youth and early career ocean professionals must not be at the periphery of our meetings, but rather at the meeting tables, helping to negotiate the future they will inherit.

“The realities of our planetary responsibilities, and the absolute moral imperative of intergenerational justice, hopefully imbued with love, oblige us to start living in better balance with the world, to stop making war on nature, to make peace with it, and thereby to stop the decline in the ocean’s health.

“There can be no fulfillment of the Paris Agreement without the ocean. To meet the 1.5°C goal, the world must make a massive pivot towards investment in ocean science, innovation, and the development of a truly sustainable and socially responsible ocean economy. We must make that pivot as if our grandchildren’s lives depend on it, because for many of them, that will be the case.”