Mr. Cousteau’s talk on Tuesday gave an inspiring testimony that even smaller advocacy groups can achieve impressive and timely reform.
In April 2006, Mr. Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society met with President George W. Bush to discuss marine endangerment in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. No formal arrangement was made at that meeting, but on June 15, 2006, President Bush declared the islands a protected Marine National Monument; the largest one to date.
Following this move, the Department of Interior added the monument to a list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The nomination was officially accepted in 2008, and will be decided upon in summer 2010.
It’s encouraging to know that what started as a film screening by Mr. Cousteau has since snowballed the cause to achieving UNESCO status and promoting marine awareness worldwide.
However, as Cousteau mentioned, despite conservation and preservation efforts in the western world, one of the biggest obstacles lies to the East, where aggressive whaling and shark fishing is the norm. Retooling heavy industry is a complicated task, and it’s clear that more simple sacrifices about what we as individuals choose to consume can still be a major push toward marine and wildlife sustainability.
It seems selfish not to do without envionmentally costly luxuries. In the United States shark finning was outlawed this year, and in New Zealand the Great White Shark has been granted full protection in national waters. Still, no international agreement has been seriously considered.