Adrian Grenier's second idea for a better world is to aim for overall access to clear, accessible and drinkable water, as well as to protect the aquatic flora and fauna. We asked him about the organizations he trusts and supports, and about his deep ecological concerns for the future. Adrian also introduced us to Katie Cardenas from Oceana, an international organization focused solely on protecting our oceans. She tells us whether or not we should be pessimistic about the oceans' fate.
You're interested in water as an enormous ecological issue.
Adrian: I’ve made water a focus and the oceans being one of them. Oceana has been an organization I've supported for a long time. I think water is fundamental to other issues so if we don’t have clean oceans, it affects our food chain, and affects human needs. For people in developing countries, having clean drinking water is fundamental to a lot of other issues that they have to face everyday. Water is seventy percent of our planet and seventy percent of our bodies. It's the most important issue.
And how are you involved in Oceana?
A: I’m not formally involved, but I support them and I’m in contact with them. I did a PSA with them on Bluefin Tuna and their imminent extinction. Just general fundraising and that sort of thing. They have been very helpful, they were often in contact about different things. Riverkeeper is also an organisation that I feel very fond of.
It must take a lot of energy to want to make a difference.
A: It really takes us all. We all have to start to care a little bit more, or at least believe that we can make a difference, so that we can not only put our energy towards conservation and being a little bit more conscientious about how we consume things and where they come from, but also that we vote and so that we make demands of those who create and enforce legislation because the oceans are vast and big and as of now they’re still, for the most part, unregulated. It will require a lot of resources; a lot of will for our country and neighboring countries to come together, and make sure that it gets protected and policed, and to ensure violators are held accountable.
Adrian introduces us to Katie Cardenas, Marketing & Communications Associate at Oceana, an international organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans on a global scale.
Have we crossed the rubicon yet?
Katie: Not yet—but we’re getting there. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly a third of assessed marine fish stocks are overfished, and that ninety percent were either fully fished or overfished in 2011. And in addition to overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing causes huge losses to the oceans—estimated to have led to losses in eleven to twenty-six million tons of fish, according to a 2009 study.
But, the good news is that by putting in place policies that establish science based catch limits, reduce by catch and protect habitat we can make our oceans abundant once again.
Are these challenges fixable? Are you optimistic or pessimistic for the future?
K: We are optimistic. Studies show that if we put the right policies in place the global fish catch can increase by as much as forty percent from current levels - enough to feed one billion people a healthy seafood meal each day by 2050.
What can those who live in big cities do to help or support?
K: A lot. City dwellers can and should play an active role in protecting the oceans. We need more people speaking up on behalf of the oceans to help us to win the policy victories needed to bring our oceans back. After all, the oceans belong to all of us. So, city dweller who care about the oceans should sign up to be a Wavemaker with Oceana (or support another group). They should also become mindful seafood eaters and generally focus on eating wild, little, local and shellfish and using a seafood guide when they can, particularly when deciding what kind of big fish to eat.
What are Oceana main campaigns? Have any proven to be successful?
K: Oceana has won dozens and dozens of policy victories over the years—we’ve protected over a million square miles of ocean, helped to reform key fisheries laws and to help save hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, sharks and other ocean creatures. You can see all the victories here.
How do you think the movie "52: The Search For The Loneliest Whale" will serve Oceana's purpose?
K: It’s fantastic. It makes it clear how important sound is to the animals in the sea. The tale of what happened to 52 is tragic. Imagine the impact of widespread seismic testing for more oil drilling—it will impact so many whales, dolphins and other sea animals who depend on echolocation for their survival and may cause serious harm to fisheries and local economies. We are so grateful for the 52’s support and help. We believe the movie and the project will help us recruit more supporters and serve as a tool for making more policymakers understand why it is bad idea to dramatically expand seismic testing (and oil drilling) in the U.S. Arctic and Atlantic.