On this Earth Day, I am taking a quick break from my everyday efforts coordinating The Ocean Project’s Zoo, Aquarium and Museum Working Group on 30×30 to reflect on some recent announcements that may not have generated a lot of headlines but were quite important to all of us who support that goal of 30×30, and especially those of us who live in the United States and also pay particular attention to ocean conservation.
First was the announcement on April 11 that the Biden administration would be launching the “America the Beautiful Challenge,” a public-private grant program that will offer US$1 billion in grants to advance conservation and restoration projects across the United States that are in keeping with the national goal of 30×30 and consistent with the principles of the America the Beautiful initiative.
Then came an announcement a few days later that the United States would be joining the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, the intergovernmental group that has grown to more than 90 member countries, and champions a global deal for nature and people with a central goal of achieving 30×30. This to me marked an important step for the US, as it clearly positioned the national initiative in the context of the global goal.
Last but not least that important announcement was made at the Our Ocean Conference, where Tribal, Indigenous, community and youth leaders from around the world gathered alongside government officials, nonprofit advocates, and corporate interests in the Republic of Palau. Those discussions focused on six “Areas of Action,” including “Advancing Marine Protected Areas for Communities, Ecosystems, and Climate,” which, of course, tied into 30×30. What mattered most was that this conference was not all talk. It closed with more than 400 commitments worth more than US$16 billion across the action areas!
There are many problems facing our blue planet. But there are also important steps being taken towards solutions – steps like these, steps that may not generate headlines but do offer hope. The goal of this post is to take a few minutes to acknowledge these commitments, and encourage all of us to work together to ensure that they are kept. Where to begin?
A great way is to generate attention to 30×30 and encourage everyone to sign the petition in support of 30×30 this World Ocean Day, as we all can play an important role in this vital effort!