Learning about ocean conservation

I love learning and see life as one long university education I never had. One way I’m continuing my education is through my Siriux XM radio show: Learning with Richard Branson.

Richard Branson and Catherine McKenna, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change

Listening is such an underrated skill. When we ask each other questions – and really listen to the answers – we can gain not only other perspectives, but a far more nuanced and well-rounded understanding of the issues at hand, and the world around us. In this age of information overload, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the noise and forget to simply listen and learn. It’s always at the top of my to-do list to ask questions, listen intently to the answers, and of course write down what I learn in order to put it into action.

Ocean conservation is an issue I’ve cared deeply about for many decades and engaged with through the Ocean Elders and Ocean Unite. In the latest episode of Learning with Richard Branson, which we recorded in Toronto recently, my co-host John Fugelsang quizzed me on my views on the ocean and my commitment to conservation. Then it was my turn to ask the questions! We had the honour of welcoming Catherine McKenna, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change. It was fitting timing as she had just announced Canada’s policy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021, a crucial step in the battle to protect the ocean from the onslaught of plastic. What’s more, we also unveiled Ocean Unite’s partnership with Virgin Voyages, and our cruiselines’ own commitment to no single-use plastics on board our ships.

As well as discussing what Canada is doing to protect more of the ocean at home, I asked Minister McKenna how the international community can work better together to have a lasting global impact upon the issue. You can hear some of her views in the clips above and below, and you can listen to the whole show tonight at 6pm ET on SiriusXM Insight 121.

The unprecedented threats facing the ocean are bringing greater risks: more extreme hurricanes, rising sea levels, the extinction and migration of entire species, and the devastating loss of live coral reefs.

Richard Branson and Catherine McKenna, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change

But we must mobilise not surrender. Governments, businesses, communities and experts of all kinds need to unite to combat and pre-empt these emerging perils of the sea. And it is possible. When Prime Minister Trudeau took office, less than one per cent of Canada's ocean was protected. Today, that proportion has risen to over eight per cent and the country is on track to meet and exceed the global commitment to protect 10 per cent of its waters by 2020 a year early.

We need more countries, more businesses and more individuals to become loud voices calling for the protection of the ocean. We at Ocean Unite are echoing the world’s leading scientists in calling for 30x30 Ocean Vision, which means strongly protecting a minimum 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.

Listen in to Learning With Richard Branson on Sirius XM for more details and discussion on this most vital of issues, and head over to Ocean Unite to find out more about the 30x30 Ocean Vision campaign.

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