This week’s Public Policy Forum, Science Solutions for a Resilient Ocean, was a great success, and I thank everyone involved. Topics related to ocean resiliency were well explored and discussed. I think many insights were gained by all in attendance on how we need to move forward in the shared space of ocean and policy to address concerns about our ocean’s ability to withstand and respond the myriad ongoing changes. From coastal zones to the abyssal plains and deepest trenches, there are many indicators that marine physical, chemical, and biological characteristics are changing at a pace that compares with some of the most dramatic geophysical transformations in our planet’s history (which also had mass extinctions).
The panel discussions on the deep ocean, science solutions, and fisheries all pointed toward the compelling need for expanding ocean research and exploration to better understand the ongoing changes, and better inform the policies and decisions we must make to enhance resiliency of ocean. The exceptional speakers and Members of Congress who participated in the Forum reinforced the need for more attention across our government and others around the world, toward these issues. I am encouraged by the non-partisan, common concern, and commitment that I observed.
With the global population predicted to grow to nine billion by the middle of this century, I fear that the “crisis of our times” is related to the nexus of energy, food, and water. I believe that our resiliency to the stresses that we encounter is closely tied the resiliency of our oceans. The investments we make in ocean science and technology today, along with other geosciences, will be paramount to ensuring the continued resiliency of our ocean and all depending upon it, including us.
Jonathan W. White, RADM, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership