Policy changes and a commitment of a new generation of leaders key to protecting and restoring our oceans


Image: Stephen CoanCiting scientific evidence that our ocean planet is "under siege and faltering," Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of the Sea Research Foundation in Mystic, Connecticut, called on the nation to make oceans a national priority, while inspiring a new generation of leaders to take the ocean seriously.

"Water is critically important to global economic and human health, and just imagine what it might mean for our future if we were able to better harvest food, energy, drugs for our health and perhaps even places to live for our growing world population, Dr. Coan said during an address at Fairfield University during an Earth Day Open VISIONS Forum presentation on Monday, April 23, 2012.

Dr. Coan cited increasing litigation, crisis-driven decision making and management through court orders and congressional intervention as among the factors that during the '90s, prevented progress on investing in and protecting our oceans.

"Conservation is neither liberal nor conservative. So why is it that we as a nation cannot endorse, embrace and move forward with an ocean policy that makes important investments in our own future and protects our most vital resources, especially now when there is every scientific indication that our ocean planet is under siege and faltering?," questioned Dr. Coan.

According to Dr. Coan, who is a founding trustee of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association, as important as a progressive policy regarding ocean conversation efforts is the need to inspire a new generation of leaders "who take the ocean seriously and see in its depths the present and the future for themselves, their descendants and the world."

Dr. Coan closed his address with the words of John F. Kennedy during a speech in 1962 before the America's Cup Races, "All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came."

Read the full text of Dr. Coan's remarks (.doc)

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 24, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 282