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Obama’s advisor shares report card on ocean’s health: UC lecture

Marcus Butler

6 February 2017: One of the United States of America’s leading thinkers in ocean health and an advisor to former US President Barack Obama has delivered a dual message of urgency and hope about the world’s oceans at the University of Canberra. See the video.

Distinguished Professor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University, Jane Lubchenco, highlighted some of the science-based solutions to problems affecting the one, connected ocean around the world during the University’s Institute for Applied Ecology 2017 Krebs Lecture.

The renowned academic discussed that although there are very serious problems such as ecosystem collapse, coral bleaching and overfishing, the situation is far from hopeless.

“Solutions to seemingly intractable problems are providing glimmers of hope. The challenge is to understand why certain solutions are working, then to replicate and scale them up to have global impact,” Professor Lubchenco said.

“A common thread across these solutions is a change in incentives for the key actors. If economic and social incentives can be aligned with conservation, there can be powerful outcomes,” she said. “We seek proven, science-based solutions that work in the North Atlantic as easily as they can in the Pacific.

“I think it’s time to set aside the doom and gloom approach when thinking about our ocean and focus instead on replicating and scaling existing solutions as well as developing new ones. Science is needed now as never before.

“The world can’t afford to let these problems run away from us, with so many people depending on our seas for their life and livelihood.”

Professor Jane Lubchenco delivers the 2017 Krebs Lecture, recorded at the University of Canberra.

Professor Lubchenco served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US from 2009-2013.

The University’s annual Krebs Lecture is dedicated to Professor Charles Krebs for his extraordinary contribution to our understanding and appreciation of our natural world.

Past speakers include former federal Liberal Party leader Dr John Hewson AM, Environment and Education Minister Peter Garrett AM, and internationally renowned environmentalist and author Professor Tim Flannery.