Could education be the key to saving our oceans?
by Olivia and Carter Ries - Founders of OneMoreGeneration.org
“Olivia" - As we attended the ‘Our Oceans’ conference at the State Department last week it became apparent that there are a whole lot of people and countries who care for the future of our oceans. We heard experts from around the globe way-in on such issues as Ocean Acidification, Overfishing/Illegal Fishing and even about the issue of Marine Debris and Plastic Pollution.
We were all so excited to see the level of participation from so many countries and the sincere compassion participants demonstrated as they mapped out their plans to help our oceans. It was especially encouraging to hear how much support both financially and legislatively most participants were prepared to offer as they learned about the perils facing our oceans globally.
We heard pledges being made designed to protect even larger areas around various land masses and we were especially moved by the actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he committed an additional 7-million dollars to help create marine sanctuaries. But the one thing we did not hear… from anyone, was the word ‘Education’. As future leaders of the next generation, we feel that everyone is missing a key component to the solution and that is teaching kids (our generation) about ways they too can get involved. We know first hand that if you teach kids about the issue, they are all too eager to want to be part of the solution.
“Carter" - If I may elaborate a little more on what Olivia has already pointed out.
It is all fine and well to create a marine sanctuary and to seek out solutions which will ensure we are producing less carbon and creating larger no-fishing zones to allow species the opportunity to restore themselves to safe levels, or to seek ways we can work with manufacturers to ensure that they are producing less plastics etc. But, unless you incorporate some sort of global education program designed to reach the next generation of leaders and teach them at an early age and show them how they too can be the solution to the issue of plastic pollution, what have we accomplished?
Plastic pollution will continue to find its way into our oceans and eventually into the very ocean sanctuaries being created. We are producing more plastic waste than can ever be recycled. Most people here in the US and even in most countries don’t even understand how a recycling system works. Most people think that just because they are sending all their plastic trash to a recycle center, they are doing their part to make a difference but the reality is that they are not.
My sister and I travel around the country and have even traveled abroad visiting recycle centers and teaching kids about what we call “Precycling” and how that actually is even more important than recycling. What we would like to see is that the US and other countries take a serious look at providing an educational component to their ocean strategy.
We have already created a curriculum which was written to match the latest National Standards for science and we have even infused math, literacy and art throughout the program. We learned about the issue of plastic pollution while helping with the animal rescue efforts during the BP Gulf oil spill and we know first hand that if you give students the education they need on the issue, we can and will find the solution.
In closing, we wish to thank everyone for making our participation such a memorable experience and we sincerely hope to have the opportunity to work with you and your staff on ways education can be made part of the master plan. Remember, “Anybody can make a difference… if we can, you can too.”
Carter and Olivia Ries - Founder of One More Generation
Around the world 62 million girls are not in school. Millions more are fighting to stay there. Let Girls Learn is a new effort by the United States Government, and led by USAID, to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. To learn more about our program and efforts, visit www.usaid.gov/letgirlslearn.
Special thanks to Alicia Keys, Amy Brenneman, Anne Hathaway, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, DeAndre Jordan, Denise Richards, Diego Boneta, James Van Der Beek, Jennifer Garner, Joe Manganiello, Josh Duhamel, Julie Bowen, Julie Delpy, Kelly Osbourne, Lance Bass, Moby, Nick Cannon, Nikki Reed, Paul Wesley, Rita Wilson, Shonda Rhimes, Soledad O’Brien, Susan Sarandon, and Tyler Perry for their participation in the video.
This video was produced by the Burkle Global Impact Initiative at UCLA and Prime Content in partnership with The Jim Henson Company. Original score by Ryan Perez-Daple (rpdmusic.com).
During conflict, sexual violence can become the norm and remain ingrained in culture long after the war is over. In post-conflict Liberia, where a 14-year civil war ended in 2003, a staggering 87% of children have experienced some form of sexual violation.
‘Olivia’, 12, says she “stopped being a child and started living in fear,” when she was six. “My uncle would sneak into my room and rape me until I bled. He abused me repeatedly until I could no longer control my bladder and bowels”.
Thankfully, another uncle reported Olivia’s case to the police and brought her to hospital where they performed surgery. “Now I have hope in my life once more,” she says. “I returned to school, and I am loving it. Life is still a challenge for me due to having to carry a urine bag with me and being at constant risk of infections. I hope one day I can be free again to play ball with my friends and my sister.”
World leaders must do all they can to end the rape and abuse of children in war at this week’s global summit. #TimeToAct #ENDviolence http://uni.cf/PSVI
Do you have what it takes to be the next U.S. Youth Observer to the UN? The statedept and the United Nations Associaton is looking for a dynamic and internationally-engaged young American to fill the role of diplomat for the 2014-2015 year. Apply now!
|—||President Obama in Malaysia, April 27, 2014|
President Obama: “The world is less violent, it is healthier, it is wealthier, it is more tolerant and it offers more opportunity than any time in human history for more people than any time in human history.”
Read his full remarks at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall here.
Join us! President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall on April 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM (MYT) / 4:00 AM (EDT). Watch live on whitehouse.gov/live or state.gov, and follow the conversation using the hashtag #YSEALItalk. Go to yseali.state.gov for more information.