Updated on April 21, 2016
The United Nations World Environment Day 2010 events got underway in Pittsburgh on Thursday June 3, with an opening keynote address by Blue Ocean Institute’s President, Dr. Carl Safina.
Safina (www.carlsafina.org) told the crowd gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, that Pittsburgh, with it’s three rivers surrounding the city, was a perfect place to recognize that all the world’s rivers, oceans, glaciers and lakes were one.
“The Ocean happens to be the ultimate downriver destination,” Safina told the audience of scientists, business leaders and students. Asking the question, “What are we doing to the oceans?” Safina presented the urgent message of Ocean sustainability and how, in the course of his lifetime, fish have gone from abundance to remarkable depletion.
The BP oil eruption in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the urgency of Safina’s message. “The world is getting warmer because of the burning of fossil fuels. Warming water is bleaching the coral reefs and killing reefs,” said Safina. “When the reefs die, we lose valuable habitat for sea life, and people who depend on those fish have few choices for their own health and survival.”
“The problem in the Gulf is still starting. While the oil still gushes, we have no idea how much damage there will be and for how long it will impact our world,” said Safina. “The real cost of oil is much higher than what we pay at the pump. It is a price that will be paid for generations to come.”
Closing his remarks with a positive message, Safina emphasized that certain fish populations have increased thanks to adequate fisheries management and regulations that protect both wildlife and habitat. “The same holds true for our oceans and rivers. It’s up to all of us to do better, and we can.”
Explaining that this catastrophe in the Gulf is a teachable moment, if we can learn from it, Safina said, “It’s time for us to wake up and take this moment and we can be the world leader in a new energy future.”
“Hope is the ability of seeing how things can be better, and inspiration is the urgency to act.”