Today is World Oceans Day – a time to raise awareness and encourage action to protect our critical global resources. At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we work to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people, and that mission is the bedrock of our oceans program.
Fish is the main source of animal protein – healthier and more affordable than beef, chicken, or pork – for more than one billion people around the world. Unfortunately this vital food source is threatened by overfishing and destructive fishing practices. While the supply of fish is decreasing, demand continually increases—with the world’s population expected to grow by two billion people within the next two decades. Without proper management of our oceans, we will continue to destroy coral reefs and marine ecosystems, and jeopardize a critical global food source.
Last week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $70-million Challenge aimed at helping cities across America grow their economies and protect human health by taking action to fight climate change. Mike Bloomberg will be emailing the mayors of the 100 largest U.S. cities about it — so keep an eye on your inbox, or tell your mayor to!
Here’s what it’s all about: When it comes to climate change, cities are both the problem and the solution. Globally, they’re the source of 70 percent of the emissions that are leading to climate change. But they’re also where creative solutions, combined with bold leadership from mayors, can make a real difference.
As the days grow warmer, the anniversary of the Trump Administration’s declaration of intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement draws closer.
In the days after this announcement last year, Mike Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown launched America’s Pledge, an initiative to aggregate and quantify emissions reduction efforts of states, cities, businesses, and universities in the U.S. One year after the federal government announced it would pull out of the Paris Agreement, 2,700+ U.S. cities, states, and businesses are saying, “We Are Still In.” Together, these non-federal actors have rallied their commitments in order to ensure the U.S. meets its Paris Agreement climate goals – with or without Washington.
The United Nations International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2018 the International Year of the Reef. Coral reefs are home to one in every four fish in the ocean, and are a critical backbone of ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, climate change and destructive fishing practices threatens to destroy 90 percent of reefs in the next three decades.
As the demand for fish continues to grow, overfishing and damaging fishing practices, like bottom-trawling and illegal fishing, are destroying coral reefs and endangering the primary protein source for a billion people and thousands more who rely on fishing for income. At Bloomberg Philanthropies, our Vibrant Oceans Initiative is working to replenish fish populations and create a more sustainable environment.
By Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies
Our oceans program, like all of our work at Bloomberg Philanthropies, aims to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. So it’s good news that the United Nations International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2018 the International Year of the Reef. Coral reefs are home to one in every four fish in the ocean, and are a critical backbone of ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, climate change threatens to destroy 90 percent of reefs in the next three decades. And as the demand for fish continues to grow, overfishing and destructive practices, like bottom-trawling and using bombs and cyanide for fishing, are damaging coral reefs.
Follow the Data Podcast Episode 14: Coal: Why a 19th Century Innovation is Not Working in a 21st Century World
This year’s final episode of Follow the Data revisits Bloomberg Philanthropies first feature documentary, From the Ashes, directed by Michael Bonfiglio and distributed by National Geographic. Inspired by Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, the film was developed to bring greater attention to the impact of the coal industry in the United States.
Katherine Oliver speaks to two clean economy pioneers featured in the film: Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown, Texas, and Brandon Dennison, Founder of Coalfield Development Corporation, based in West Virginia.
As Michael Bloomberg says: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t fix it.” Cites are leaders in the transition to sustainable economies but first they need to know where they stand. The first step for cities to get on the sustainability ladder is to measure and report.
To help with this challenge, on August 8th-9th Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted the “Empowering cities with data” workshop in collaboration with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, CDP, and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The two-day meeting was held in the City of San Francisco, in a region known as the global epicenter of tech innovation. Under San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin M. Lee, the city has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 28% from 1990 levels, while its GDP has grown by 78% and its population by almost 20%.
The global losses due to illegal fishing and overfishing cost the world’s economy up to $23.5 billion annually. Vessels are getting away with these harmful practices by failing to report where they are fishing and what they are catching. They’re fishing in protected waters and depleting the fisheries of certain species, diminishing populations to irreparable lows, harming the livelihoods of and depleting an important source of protein for populations in many of the world’s countries.
Dr. Ameer Abdulla, Senior Marine Advisor, World Commission of Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered as you work to protect reefs in the Maldives?
I believe there is a general lack of recognition of the critical role coral reefs play in the persistence of the islands and the economy of the country. Of course this issue is not unique to Maldives but is especially emphasized given the geography and geomorphology of the country. The wellbeing of not just the coral reefs but also the people is at stake when reefs are not managed as well as they could be.
Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai, Fiji Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society
Can you tell us about the problems that are affecting coral reefs globally?
Coral reefs are facing an onslaught of stresses and pressures from land-based pollution, destructive fishing, overfishing, and climate change. Any one of these human caused stresses have the potential to impact coral reefs. Together they are causing wide scale losses and declines in coral reefs all over the world at alarming rates. Even some of the more remote parts of the world, away from human habitation, coral reefs are impacted by climate change-induced thermal events that can cause coral bleaching.