The summit has been a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with conservation leaders, scientists, artists and other dedicated people who care about our oceans. Discussions at the summit ranged from government protection plans to the role of art in ocean advocacy.
Many plans, ideas, statistics and researched material was shared via powerpoint presentations and there was a prevailing sense of urgency. Most every scientist in the room agreed that our oceans, and therefore our entire earth, is on a disastrous collision course. We are engaged in a race to decrease our carbon footprint before….. well we do not know exactly. But before bad things happen. Unfortunately, most of the studies discussed do not account for current population trends. So, even IF we are correct in our calculations, and IF we are able to convince the general population that they must alter current habits and IF we are able to overcome all the challenges and meet our projected goals, we STILL will only be meeting the goals established for today’s population numbers.
When I asked at the opening discussion, how we as a community might take this essential factor into account? There was a loud hum in the roam. There were a few smiles and knowing nods of agreement. Then the panel acknowledged that this indeed was an important factor BUT it was very difficult to overcome. “Look what happened in China!” Was an insightful comment intended to quite the room. Then the hum diminished, and the room returned to normal and the presentations continued as they had before. Goals and projections based on static population numbers are not realistic. Therefore the foundation of all these well-laid plans is not sound. What can we do about the soaring population around the world? I do not know, but I do know that we must begin to discuss and battle this challenge if we are serious about solving virtually all conservation issues listed on our docket.