Blue Ocean Network Liz Cunningham - Page 2

Hello, Ocean Tribe!

As I sit here writing this piece, I find myself

reflecting on all that has happened around the

world since we started prepping for the 2016

Blue Ocean Summit last August. To say it’s been

a chaotic six months is an understatement.

With political upheaval swirling around the

planet, and environmental protections a looming

casualty, the only certainty in the world, it seems,

is uncertainty. With the resurgence of coal

mining in first-world countries, an epidemic of

plastic pollution, and oil and mining threatening

marine ecosystems, you’re not alone if you are feeling fearful for our planet’s future.

In fact, fear was a recurring theme in this year’s Summit. Many of our speakers shared intimate moments where they felt helpless as the world quickly flew by them. Yet in chaos, there is great energy, and each speaker described their own personal journeys of slowing down and looking inward to find a place where they could harness their energy.

Through their introspection, these speakers found hope and discovered their personal mission in life. They allowed a sense of curiosity to guide them beyond fear. We are so lucky to have leaders like these who are speaking up for the ocean, and inspiring us in the process. They remind us that our voice matters.

So what if you 'lived your life like your voice really mattered?' That's what former political reporter-turned-author Liz Cunningham posed to us in Summit 2016. It's a call to go inward, to follow our passion, find our niche, and take action.

Liz also points to a specific action that, up until the U.S. election, many of us tended to avoid – and that is engagement in politics. It is often said that looming threats like climate change are not political issues – they are social issues, moral issues, survival issues. But to address them we cannot skirt the political process.

Signing a petition, creating an awareness campaign, or attending a march is a starting point to voice our concerns. But it's not enough. We need to exercise our right to vote, and then remain persistently engaged with elected representatives. This is how social change happens.

As the late Sharkwater/Revolution filmmaker Rob Stewart said during our 2015 Summit, interview in 2015,

“We technically live in a democracy, and the government and politicians

are our civil servants, not our masters. They are supposed to do what we

ask them to do. We've got to tell them what we want. If we engage with

them at the municipal level, a certain amount of queries at that level make them jump up a level. So get involved with

The environmental problems we face are a reflection of our society, our fears, our sense of lack, our misplaced values, our need to fit in, and our political systems that maintain the status quo. We are in the process of breaking free of this collective conditioning – hence the chaos. We've realized there is no safety in the status quo: It no longer serves our best interests. The evidence is in the ocean.

Through this Summit, it has been truly gratifying to connect with so many Summit attendees (aka BOBSters!) who are using their voice, doing what they can, with what they have from where they are, to create hope spots of positive change around the world. If you are ready to do the same, Blue Ocean Network is here to help.

Our vision at Blue Ocean network is a place that helps transform ocean lovers into ocean leaders. We provide the platform for change makers to gather, learn, share, collaborate and take actions that turn the tide for the health of the ocean. It all starts within each of us, individually and as a collaborative.

Our community is global, engaged and growing: The blossoming of Blue Ocean Network has not been accomplished in a vacuum. We are a small, yet strong team and I want to thank Robert Frerck for his insight, attention to detail and the very important behind-the-scenes support that keeps this community going. To Trefor Munn-Venn at Rhapsody Strategies for his guidance and mentorship as we pivoted Blue Ocean Network from a travel trade site to an ocean community. To Dani Chavez Ackermann and her team at Just Add Salt for their thoughtful redesign of our website that now houses this Summit. To Pili Anzivino for helping us keep our message and branding on track. And to Lauryn Dempsey, my partner in ocean instigation, who was instrumental throughout the Summit and beyond, and who also wrote and designed this entire resource guide.

Finally, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for showing up and participating, for caring and connecting to this Blue Ocean community. Thank you for all that you do to make this beautiful blue planet a better place. Your voice matters!

Now, dive in and enjoy this year’s Summit Resource Guide!

Laurie

A Letter from your host