VIEWPOINT: What a Difference a Day Makes



Posted on 10 May 2013  | 
Lida Pet-Soede
© Lida Pet-SoedeEnlarge
Almost a year ago, I was standing under a blazing sun on Kedonganan Beach, Bali, in the midst of the most unlikely of crowds: musicians, conservationists, students, dancers, ogo-ogos (traditional Balinese sculptures), tourists, government officials, capoeira dancers, and other folks from all walks of life.

Along with more than 11,000 people across the region, Kedonganan was the epicenter of the first Coral Triangle Day, a celebration of the natural gifts provided by oceans to people in the Coral Triangle. In some countries, these activities covered several days around June 9, ranging from government-led technical events to community beach clean ups, private sector initiatives with sustainable seafood, and many more.

With less than a month to go until the second Coral Triangle Day on June 9, I am still amazed and inspired that so many individuals from seemingly unrelated backgrounds could have come together on Coral Triangle Day. In fact, over the last 10 years, I have seen much growth in the engagement of people in the Coral Triangle for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries.

This growth in public engagement is what the Coral Triangle Day hopes to build on--to create a critical mass of supporters ready to take action for their shared natural resources, complement the conservation work being conducted by NGOs and other partners, and hold governments to their commitments in ocean conservation for this region.

Through events like the Coral Triangle Day, we have the opportunity to bring marine issues relevant to this region to the forefront--even for just a day--and provide people, especially the youth, with good cause to celebrate and make their voices heard.

With individuals, organizations, and establishments coming together on one day and focusing their energies on a collective vision, we would be sending a loud and strong message to the world about the global significance of the Coral Triangle.

Today, in print and online media, thousands of young people, experts, celebrities, and professionals from the hospitality sector, share how they care about the oceans and what they do to help protect marine ecosystems and ocean wildlife. Also, in countries where new government leadership is in transition, ocean issues are finally entering candidates’ campaigns as part of a growing awareness that green development is the right path towards a future for people, planet, and profit.

The momentum has indeed started and we hope that it keeps growing throughout the years as more and more people clamor for healthier oceans for present and future generations.

Most days of the year we should continue to work hard and try to speed up the protection of important parts of our seas and transform the way we fish and reduce the waste of seafood.

But June 9 is the day when we should all try to go out and sit down on a beach to look over the ocean and consider how it connects us all, and how beautiful that is.

Lida Pet-Soede
© Lida Pet-Soede Enlarge

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