World Oceans Week

Investable Oceans

World Oceans Week
Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash

In 1992, the United Nations established World Oceans Day (WOD) to inspire the public to care for and inform themselves about our oceans and this Blue Planet we call home. To expand on WOD and provide inspiring programming to their members, guests, and the many young minds that visit, The Explorers Club began hosting World Oceans Week (WOW) at the suggestion of 43rd Club President Ted Janulis, to occur in conjunction with the hallowed international celebration. Now in its 7th year, WOW has gathered some of the greatest and most innovative voices in ocean exploration, science, and conservation at the Club’s headquarters in New York City.

Founded in 1904, The Explorers  Club (TEC) has welcomed extraordinary members like Sir Edmund Hillary and Thor Heyerdahl, but it’s famous firsts included the first expedition to the North Pole in 1909, the expedition to the South Pole in 1911, and the 1953 ascent to the highest point of Everest, to name just a few. The Club also houses mementos, notes, and flags from some of the world's most fascinating discoveries and adventures.

If you’re hearing the words “that belongs in a museum” as you read this, you’re not wrong; the magnificent Manhattan mainstay boasts an incredible collection of memorabilia, reliquary, and books that will make you feel uniquely close to exploration history and inspired to embark on your own journeys.

The Investable Oceans team was thrilled to participate in this year’s WOD and WOW events in New York City. In case you missed the festivities, here are their key takeaways.

Coral Night & Bahamas Night at The Explorers Club: Marilu Cristina Flores

“As I wandered through the floors, an hour or so before the evening's program was set to begin, I came to find a lively gathering occurring in Ted Janulis’ office where, low and behold, sitting towards the foreroom were Dr. Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue and Titouan Bernicot of Coral Gardeners. The perfect kickstart to the night’s themed event during Coral Night.”

During Monday evening’s Coral Night, guests attended numerous presentations on coral conservation, all culminating in a discussion led by Dr. Earle and Bernicot. Tuesday’s festivities were no less inspiring, with a Bahamas-themed extravaganza featuring a Junkanoo performance and updates from the Allen Exploration team, who recently salvaged Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, a 17th-century Spanish Galleon that sank in 1656 with a cargo full of gold, silver, and gems.

Image: Morgan Bennett-Smith 

Blue Generation & Collaboration: Morgan Bennett-Smith 

This World Oceans Week, I was inspired by the many talented members of The Explorers Club Blue Generation cohort. These young ocean explorers, who assembled in NYC for a week of ocean lectures and peer-to-peer learning at TEC headquarters, generated so much infectious energy and excitement during the week that it was impossible to leave without “catching” it. And, the many crossovers among different fields of ocean science, policy, and art created a collaborative environment that fostered valuable new connections – for example, I’ll be working on a new documentary project with one Blue Generation member in the fall, a collaboration that came directly from World Oceans Week! 

World Oceans Day at the United Nations: Tiffany Duong

World Oceans Day 2023 at the United Nations opened up with one of the most incredible performances I’ve ever witnessed. It left me, and everyone else in the audience, in tears. The artist Whaia, a Maori Sonic Weaver, used a conch shell, crystal sound bowls, water, and song in her native tongue – Te Ra/the language of the sun –  to create a hypnotizing and moving ode to water. Behind her, an image of a solitary manta flipping in sparking seas perfectly embodied the feelings and vibrations moving through the audience. I fail to convey in words what it made us all feel, but I know I will never forget it. 

This masterful performance, which was so grounded in and nourished by water, was a perfect example of how art must be a part of the conversation as well as we try to save our planet. By leading with beauty and joy, we create new connections in unexpected places. Through these, we can hopefully accomplish what feels impossible.

Aquaculture + Sustainable Seafood: Helena Janulis 

For me, regenerative and sustainable blue food systems are one of the most exciting spaces within the blue economy. I always look forward to discovering and learning about new products during World Oceans Week, and this year was truly incredible. 

I had the opportunity to attend the Sustainable Seafood Soiree at TEC headquarters, where I spoke with several entrepreneurs to learn about their inspiration, vision, and process as I tasted their delicious products. Some of these included Akua’s kelp burgers, Plant-Based Seafood Co’s scallops, and Hudson Valley Fisheries’ steelhead trout. I left the Soiree feeling inspired, hopeful, and, of course, very full. I encourage everyone to explore the abundance of sustainable blue food products out there – they offer a powerful way to act on our values and help protect the places we love! 

Image: Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash

World Oceans Week in New York City was truly inspirational. The wide range of topics covered ensured there was content and activities for anyone interested in ocean conservation or learning more about conservation efforts worldwide. Most importantly, activations held across this global city reached countless individuals who are perhaps more aware, enlightened, and inspired to take action. Our economy is dependent on a healthy planet, and without healthy and thriving oceans, we cannot survive on Earth. In the famous words of Dr. Earle, “As we commit ourselves today to respect planet Earth, let’s remember that without blue, there is no green.”

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