Today is one of our most favorite days of the year – it’s World Oceans Day! And we’re honored, and most fortunate, to be able to commemorate this day by interviewing one of our ocean’s most devoted and passionate advocates. We’re joined by the Oceans Campaign Director at Greenpeace, John Hocevar — who in our opinion, has one of the coolest, most fulfilling jobs an ocean lover can have. In his interview, John speaks about his love for the oceans, how they’re in danger and what we can all do to help.
Can you please describe your role as Greenpeace’s Oceans Campaign Director? I oversee our work on marine conservation in the US, and coordinate with colleagues around the world. It is a mix of strategic planning, staff management, and meetings with corporations, government officials, scientists and NGO allies. I also spend some time at sea, occasionally even getting to pilot a submarine. Every day is something different!
Why is it important for us to protect our oceans? What is at stake?
We live on the water planet, and our own health is inextricably linked to the health of the ocean. The oceans cover over 2/3 of the surface of our planet, and provide the oxygen for every second breath we take. Billions of people live by the sea, and many more depend on the ocean for food. Plastic pollution has reached the point where scientists project that there could soon be more plastic than fish in our oceans, unless we change course.
What is the goal of your campaigns with Greenpeace? Which campaign are you most proud of and which have made the most impact?
Greenpeace tends to take on the most urgent threats to our planet, with campaigns that can take years or even decades to win. At the beginning, our goals often seem impossible to many people, but by the end they usually look inevitable.
I think I am proudest of the work we have done to improve seafood sustainability. I’ve also been very pleased with the way Greenpeace has helped incorporate human rights and labor issues into our work on tuna fisheries and other industries. Environmental and social issues are inextricably linked, so talking about them together makes it possible to achieve better solutions for both sets of problems.
How can one person’s commitment to protecting our oceans make an impact?
There are a few ideas for ways people can help protect the Water Planet here. We should all do what we can as individuals, of course – give to charities that share our values, reduce our consumption of meat and fossil fuels, and educate ourselves so we can make informed decisions about the leaders we elect and the products we buy. I think we have the most impact when we go beyond personal lifestyle changes to advocacy. It definitely helps to choose sustainable tuna.
Are you currently working on any campaigns with Greenpeace that our readers should know about/participate in?
The biggest marine conservation focus for us right now is on cleaning up the tuna industry. Wild Planet is way ahead of the curve, scoring #1 in our canned tuna shopping guide this year. Many of the big brands and their suppliers have a long way to go, though. Bycatch is still a huge problem, with hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and millions of sharks killed in tuna fisheries each year. There are also major scandals involving human rights and labor abuses, with many fishermen not being paid a living wage.Fortunately, things are starting to change. Individuals as well as retailers are starting to demand better, and it is paying off.
A huge and heartfelt thank you to John for taking the time to speak with us. We’re more committed than ever to our oceans and vow to continuing doing whatever we can to help maintain them and sustain our wildly good planet! To view our company’s Wildly Good Pledge to our oceans, please click HERE!
For the full interview go to http://blog.wildplanetfoods.com/interview-with-greenpeaces-oceans-campaign-director-john-hocevar/#more-7182
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