There’s a reason people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve. The beginning of a new calendar year is the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on what is going well, what we could improve and how we’re going to make positive change in our lives.
I’ve always liked the practice of celebrating last year’s successes and looking forward to next year’s commitments. That’s why I’m doing the same thing for Earth Day—it’s the perfect opportunity for us all to make resolutions on how we’re going to make the world a better place for the next 365 days and beyond.
Resolution 1: Continue to prioritize equity in conservation science and policy
Last year was a time of reflection and reckoning for us, and many other conservation organizations, as we committed to leading organizational change that contributes to a larger societal fight for justice and equity. We cannot talk about ocean conservation without delving deep into the racial inequalities that lead communities of color to be disproportionately affected by climate change, natural disasters and more. And now, affluent countries are able to vaccinate their populations against a deadly virus while others have to wait months if not years to do the same. These inequalities have massive consequences for human health, ocean health and the health of our planet. This Earth Day, let us commit to amplifying diverse voices in designing and implementing conservation policies, and holding our elected officials—and ourselves—accountable to creating a more equitable planet.
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Resolution 2: Push the Biden administration to take bold #oceanclimateaction
Before he took office, we outlined six ocean priorities for President Biden. On his first day, he sent a strong message by rejoining the Paris Agreement—a stark contrast to the anti-climate policies of the previous administration. But President Biden’s job is just beginning, and the UN climate change conference in November will be an important milestone in the fight against climate change. All eyes will be on President Biden as a climate-conscious leader of a country with one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions to lead by example. We are committed to keeping up the heat (so to speak) to make sure the administration continues to set ambitious climate goals, implements sustainable ocean-based climate solutions, prioritizes ocean-friendly infrastructure and more. We will continue to work with our partners in government and industry, and will share ways that you can take action and add your voice to #oceanclimateaction.
Resolution 3: Be kind to ourselves and each other and take time for joy
For many of us, this spring was particularly bleak. As we approached the year anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns, we felt the weight of the previous year more heavily than ever before. On top of the exhaustion from living through a year of a global pandemic, many also experienced unimaginable loss of friends and loved ones from COVID-19. As I spoke to my friends and colleagues, we all seemed to be dealing with different types of sadness, grief, loss and anxiety.
As more people get vaccinated and the world begins to open up, those feelings won’t go away overnight—and that is OK. We’ve collectively gone through so much and can’t expect to bounce back like nothing happened. I keep telling myself and my colleagues that in order to care for our planet, we need to care for ourselves.
So on top of pushing for policy and advocating for our ocean, please remember to commit to caring for ourselves and each other. When I pause and do things that bring me joy, like walking along the beach in my home state of Oregon, it recharges me and reminds me why I do what I do.
This Earth Day, I hope you will join me with resolutions of your own. Together, we can create a better ocean and better planet, this year and in all the years to come.