Last year, we dubbed 2021 “the Year of Ocean Equity.” We know Black, Indigenous and People of Color, low-income communities, and other marginalized groups bear the brunt of inequities across the board, including when it comes to ocean protection. This results in negative effects on the environment and human health, loss of livelihoods, limited financial opportunities for vulnerable groups and challenges to nutritional and food security.

At the conference, we saw this in action. At the Our Ocean Future event, I scribbled in my notebook the words of Dr. Asha de Vos: “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunities are not.”

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We must listen to the people most affected by climate change and ocean health and follow their lead.

At the Packard Foundation, we are committed to including coastal communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and other threats to ocean health in conversations and decision-making about how to manage coastal and marine ecosystems.

In addition to hearing directly from those most impacted, there were several other key takeaways from the conference, from the creation of the Lisbon Declaration explaining science-based actions to protect the ocean, to several new Marine Protected Areas that can directly benefit local communities, to progress on a deep-sea mining moratorium to protect the ocean seafloor from large-scale harm due to mineral extraction.

Additionally, and importantly, several big government announcements highlighted the connection between human rights, bringing diverse voices into ocean conversations, and a commitment to solutions that support the well-being of people and the environment:

Read the full article about ocean equity in conservation by Nicole Kravec at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.