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Photo by Angela George

Waterston champions ocean conservation


In 2016 an annual review from the Australian Institute of Marine Science read, “A decade ago, the general narrative was that coral reefs face an uncertain future under climate change. Now, as evidence from observational and experimental research is mounting, providing more signal to the noise, the narrative focuses increasingly on the consequences for society…"

Climate change has had a profound impact on ocean life, from rising sea temperatures to the loss of vital aquatic habitats. Founded in 2001, Oceana, an ocean conservation nonprofit led by actor Ted Danson, has lobbied for marine preservation, particularly in regard to halting overfishing, offshore drilling and wind farms. On Friday, June 2, The Salisbury Forum will welcome Academy Award-nominated actor and Chair of the Board of Oceana Sam Waterston to Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Conn., to discuss the organization’s conservation efforts to save our oceans.

During a phone interview from his home in Litchfield County, Conn., Waterston remarked that he grew up in New England believing the ocean was an endless expanse that would limitlessly provide. “Then I was reading the newspaper on the beach in Rhode Island in the ‘70s and learned the cod fish industry had collapsed. It was simply unbelievable, impossible…” he said. “The sea was not inexhaustible. I became more at more aware of how the environment was suffering because of our treatment, and carried this fear for Earth with me, and didn’t know what to do with it.”

Waterston’s talk is ahead of International World Ocean Day on June 8. Since its official recognition by the United Nations in 2008 the annual event has had a theme, with 2023’s announced as “Planet Ocean: Tides Are Changing.” Streaming live with presentations by UN representatives and celebrities, we can only hope they tell us the change is for the better.

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