Charting the Future of the Oceans

Charting the Future of the OceansDecember 23, 2009
The recent United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen devoted one day to present the latest scientific understanding about the impacts of climate change on the ocean. At this forum, I had the honor of meeting and listening to key leaders, scientists and policy makers from around the world. The more than 300 ocean experts from government, industry and non-governmental organizations focused attention on the direct link between climate change, and the health of the oceans and human wellbeing.

The need for public and private sectors to work together to support bold actions that will minimize the effects of climate change on the marine environment was undeniable.

Jean-Michel Cousteau in Copenhagen Just the fact that an entire day of global attention was concentrated on this ambitious goal reinforced the fact that we are on the right path to creating a more sustainable future for us all. There are urgent and far-reaching actions that now need to take place. Many people left Copenhagen disappointed and frustrated that more was not accomplished, but the solution to that frustration is for each organization and each individual to decide what their contribution to a solution will be.

This past year at Ocean Futures Society our commitments have included:

Call of the Killer WhaleJean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures premiered Season Three on PBS in April with Sea Ghosts and Call of the Killer Whale. Call of the Killer Whale received the Best Broadcast Program or Series award at the Blue Ocean Film Festival and honorable mention at the Montana Cine International Film Festival for Educational Value. As a result of what was learned in the filming, Ocean Futures Society started a new campaign on banning toxic flame retardants, the PBDE group of chemicals. By joining forces with other non-profit organizations, we have been able to make our voices heard in the effort to bring these dangerous chemicals to the public attention.

AOTE BrazilThe Ambassadors of the Environment program continued its global outreach with a new location in the mangrove and coastal ecosystems of the Atlantic off Guarujá, Brazil. This residential camp is currently open to both public and private school groups for stays up to a week long. Participants study rainforests, mangroves, and coastal ecosystems while exploring sustainable living practices such as composting, low-impact building materials, and solar technology.

We are also excited to announce that the Ocean Futures Society website has been redesigned and is now 100 percent powered by solar energy. I invite you to take a look at our free, "members only" OFS ring tones and wallpaper for your mobile phone and to explore access to environmental updates, blogs, expedition news, OFS events, e-alerts and other features.  Or take a break from a busy day and select “Creature Feature” for a lively introduction to another of the sea's amazing creations.

We, too, have an ambitious program we’re hoping to accomplish in the New Year and I want to thank you for your dedication and support. It is because of individual contributions, donations and sponsorships that we were able to make a difference this past year.

Looking ahead, I realize that now more than ever we need your support. Your charitable, tax-deductible contribution can be made on-line and will allow Ocean Futures Society to fulfill our mission in 2010.

May this be the year we turn things around for the future of the ocean and ourselves.

Happy Holidays,


First Photo: Jean-Michel Cousteau at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. © Luc Hardy
Second Photo: Jean-Michel Cousteau at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. © Luc Hardy
Third Photo: Call of the Killer Whale © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society.
Fourth Photo: AOTE in Guarujá, Brazil © Richard Murphy, Ocean Futures Society.