Dear John, can we talk? Please commit to the future of Our Oceans

by Phil Kline

May 26, 2014

Humpback whale with young (Megapetra noveangliae). Buckelwal (Megapetra noveangliae).

© Ralf Kiefner / Greenpeace

John Kerry,US Secretary of State, has championed environmental protection ever since the very first Earth Day in 1970. In particular, he has recognised the value of the oceans to us all. He has worked hard for their protection, serving as Chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Oceans and Fisheries Subcommittee and has been a passionate advocate for the full protection of theRoss Seain Antarctica.

On June 16th and 17th John Kerry will host theOur Ocean conferencein Washington DC to discuss ocean protection. But there’s a conflict. Secretary Kerry’s passion stands in contradiction to the stance of the United States, which has blocked progress towards a new UN agreement that would provide the framework for establishing a global network of ocean sanctuaries to restore the health of our oceans. We are worried that John Kerry’s love for the oceans is fading, so it’s time we wrote him a letter:

Dear John,

It breaks our hearts to say this, but we are worried that your love for our oceans is fading.

You once seemed to care so much, and so genuinely, for our oceans. Remember how passionately you spoke of the remarkable waters that we are blessed to have, the waters that you learnt to love as a little boy playing on the coast of Massachusetts?

You said all the right words, made all the right promises. You said, There can be no doubt that the ocean requires our protection and our collective action. You showed you were thinking of our joint future when you said, If were going to pass on a livable ocean to the next generation, we need to act much more forcefully now. And yet, when its time to actually do the right thing, youre holding back.

The Future of the Middle East: John F. Kerry

Please John, show us you care!

John, you have a chance to lead real, collective action: to commit your government to an international agreement, and use your global influence to convince other world players to secure the very protection you say we need. Were talking about the development of a global framework for high seas protection at the United Nations, an international agreement under the Law of the Sea Convention. With this agreement, we could protect the amazing myriad of marine life in international waters. Without such protection, our oceans remain defenseless.

With more than half of our oceans lying beyond the authority of any one country, it will take nothing less than a network of ocean sanctuaries large areas where you don’t take anything, break anything or pollute anything to secure the future we want for Our Oceans.

Hey John!

Hey John!

Our Oceans, your own conference, would be the perfect opportunity for you to show your true self and signal the United States leadership on oceans issues by supporting the launch of a high seas biodiversity agreement by the UN General Assembly. It would be extraordinary good timing too, as your conference will be followed by a meeting at the United Nations to discuss precisely this agreement!

We all love the oceans, John, and as you say in your invitation to Our Oceans conference, they are really significant to life itself. You promised that your conference would be an important start to a much larger effort we can only hope that you will make this true, that the US governments support for a new high seas agreement will be one of the many successes of the conference.

Stay true to the trail, John, prove your love. Show us that youre determined to secure a better future for Our Oceans!

With great hope for our future together,

Phil, on behalf of Ocean Lovers worldwide

Phil Kline

By Phil Kline

Phil is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. He is a recognized expert on oceans policy domestically and internationally, and has represented Greenpeace U.S. at International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meetings around the globe.

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