As 2022 comes to a close, I am reflecting on everything we’ve accomplished together on behalf of our ocean throughout the last 12 months.
It’s been an incredibly busy year here at Ocean Conservancy, to say the least. I am ending this year feeling excited—and grateful—for everything we did to promote ocean health and productivity this year. Most of all, I so appreciate all the ocean advocates who stood alongside us to make these wins possible.
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Join me in reflecting on five tremendous ocean victories from the past year:
1. California passed a landmark plastics bill.
In June, California passed SB54, also known as the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act. This bill, which reduces single-use plastic packaging and funds restoration efforts, will eliminate about 23 million tons of plastics over the next decade. That’s equivalent to the weight of almost 1 million redwood trees or 150,000 blue whales. Dr. Anja Brandon, U.S. Plastics Policy Analyst here at Ocean Conservancy, said it best: “The United States is the number-one generator of plastic waste in the world and a top contributor to the ocean plastics crisis. We can’t solve this problem without U.S. leadership, and by passing this law, California is righting the ship. This is a huge win for our ocean.” Learn more about what is in this historic bill.
2. We launched a new program to support locally-led climate and ocean justice action.
In August, Ocean Conservancy launched our Ocean Justice Community Grants program, which amplifies and uplifts the work of historically marginalized ocean advocates. We will fund projects that strengthen coastal communities, promote sustainable fishing, advance ocean innovations and more. We received an impressive range of applications and are excited to share updates on the grantees in 2023. These grants are one way we’re working towards our vision of a healthier ocean, protected by a more just world. Read more about our commitment to advancing ocean justice.
3. Parties across the globe made strides for our climate.
In 2022, we joined representatives from around the world at COP27, the annual gathering of countries to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. One of the biggest outcomes this year was the recommitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which means countries have a renewed incentive to reduce emissions. This is a critical threshold: Above 1.5°C, our ocean and coasts are severely threatened by acidification, storms, sea level rise, warming and more. We were happy to see that our ocean played a big role in the COP27 conversations, as ocean-based solutions are an imperative part of a sustainable climate future. Read the recap from my Ocean Conservancy colleagues who attended COP27.
4. The Biden administration invested in ocean-based climate solutions.
When the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, it marked the largest investment in climate change solutions in U.S. history. The bill includes steps to decarbonize our ports, increase coastal restoration and incentivize offshore wind efforts. Although there are some parts of the bill that aren’t as positive—measures to prop up the oil and gas industry, for example—it represents a big step in the right direction towards meaningfully addressing climate change and an opportunity to advance ocean justice. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to implement the beneficial parts of the bill and continue to move away from the destructive oil and gas industry. Learn more about what this bill means for our ocean.
5. Ocean Conservancy celebrated 50 years of ocean conservation.
This September marked our 50thanniversary—that’s five decades of advocating for our ocean. Ocean Conservancy has seen so much in the last 50 years—many victories and many challenges. But one thing is for sure: Our network of dedicated ocean advocates has grown tremendously. It’s thanks to you that we’re able to look back on all the ocean triumphs we’ve celebrated together over the years and look forward to what comes next. See my post of some of the highlights over the last 50 years of ocean conservation.
These are just a few of the many ocean wins we celebrated this year, and it makes me more hopeful than ever to see what we can accomplish in 2023. As always, this work wouldn’t be possible without the support of ocean advocates like you. Kick off 2023 by taking action for our ocean.
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