Earth Week Interview: Aulani Wilhelm (Part 2)

While we write about the need to protect oceans and marine ecosystems as a key part of climate action a lot here at ODP, it’s still an often overlooked goal for climate advocates. However, protecting the open ocean (the deep ocean beyond the continental shelf, and often beyond national boundaries) is one of the most important conservation goals of all. The open ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth and we cannot hope to protect 30% of land and water by 2030 without a plan to protect these waters. As it stands, there is no unified system in place to protect open water. Most marine reserves today are created and managed by single countries, most often along their coastline, or centered on remote island territories.

We can change this, however. As Aulani Wilhelm, the Senior Vice President for Oceans at Conservation International (CI) told us in part 2 (watch part 1 here) of our interview, we have to reframe how we talk about the open ocean as a first step:

“The open ocean is a place and we [think in terms of] protecting places. So let’s give breadth, character and life to the open ocean. These places are underwater seamounts, they could be migratory areas for species, or be important for seabirds, how do you bring character to that? “

 

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