Blue Vision Summits bring ocean conservation leaders together every two years to network, build the blue movement and meet with the Administration and Congress to restore the blue in our red, white and blue. In 2015, more than 130 ‘Healthy Ocean Hill Day’ participants were welcomed by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and 4 members of the House including Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico who clearly understands that every state’s a coastal state. Our 24 state delegations went on to hold 163 Hill meetings with 9 Senators, more than 25 House members and dozens of their staffers to voice opposition to new offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic and the Arctic and support a bipartisan bill against IUU (Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported) fishing and pirate fishing. This citizen lobby on Capitol Hill was immediately followed by the 8th annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards (PBOA). Called ‘The Academy Awards of the Sea, the Benchleys recognize leaders from many walks of life finding solutions to the threats facing our blue world.
2015 Blue Vision themes included responding to the impacts from climate change, overfishing, offshore oil and plastic pollution and also, with students and youth, working to make sure that healthy public seas and the healthy economies and communities they support (both human and wild) become a national public policy priority by the 2016 Presidential Elections.
Those who attended BVS5 and the PBOA8 included: Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, Coast Guard Vice-Commandant Admiral Peter Neffenger, NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathy Sullivan, NOAA Marine Sanctuaries Director Dan Basta, Rep. Sam Farr, Ralph Nader, Senator Brian Schatz , Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (invited), Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz, National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli, Fabien Cousteau, Celine Cousteau, Wyland, Wendy Benchley, Enric Sala, J. Wallace J. Nichols, David Doubillet, Louie Psihoyos, Don Walsh, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Nigella Hillgarth, Chad Nelson, a 90-foot inflatable Blue Whale named Mz Blue, and hopefully ocean lovers and defenders like you!
What attendees have to say about their experiences at Blue Vision Summits.
“It was a terrific experience for me to attend the event and hear about the good work being done to raise awareness about threats to the ocean.”
“We came away with tons of information, new friends, contacts, and warm memories”
“We need to keep the connections going here – you have really sparked something good.”
“I especially appreciated the communication and arts components – we need to
workshop how to beach reach the public as much as we can.”
“Bringing together great people to think about how we can create the vision.”
” We made many new connections…and look forward to keeping
in touch with our new friends, and perhaps find ways to work together.”
“If you’re concerned about our oceans and coasts – and the money and jobs that rely on them – we’d love for you to join us in calling on Congress to acknowledge how important our seas really are to the country and planet.”