“What comes to mind when we think about conservation?”
What comes to mind when we think about conservation? Often, it’s parks and soaring mountains, endless vistas, and the sublime landscapes made famous by artists like Albert Bierstadt, whose legendary Yosemite sunrise is on display just down the hall from Julie’s portrait. But oceans are rarely depicted, even though they occupy fully 70% of our planet and perform a breathtaking array of services, from sheltering biodiversity to providing food and stabilizing the climate.
The oceans are being destroyed by a combination of overfishing, pollution, and poor governance. They are also slowly, steadily boiling through a feat of simple chemistry: Greenhouse gas emissions produce elevated CO2, which when combined with H2O produces carbonic acid. The resulting acidification is destroying the very structure of coral reefs, which play an irreplaceable role in the provision of food and the resilience of coastal communities in places like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.
The gift of Julie Packard and Sir David Attenborough is that they capture our imagination and transport us to places far away. They remind us of our love for the oceans and for all of nature. They lay plain the fact that climate change is altering the flow of ocean currents around the world. It is decimating landscapes and biodiversity and livelihoods. And they make clear we need to act. Now.
I’m grateful for the work of Julie and Sir David in providing clear signals, clear solutions, and a clear path to help us save this planet that is our home. Time now to get to work. Because we must aspire to nothing less than a portrait of a world that flourishes and sustains us all.