Changing Planet

A New Year’s Resolution for the Ocean

National Geographic stock photo


The new year is a time for celebration and looking towards the future with hope and anticipation.  We often hear about the dire state of the ocean – serious overfishing, pollution, acidification – it would seem there is not much to be hopeful about.  But that is not the whole story.  Fishing communities are benefiting from new rights that incentivize long-term economic benefits over short-term gains.  No fishing zones are being established creating new tourism opportunities and restoring fisheries.  More people from ever-diversifying sectors of society are learning about the importance of a healthy ocean and the relationship to human and planetary health.  They are getting inspired to change their behavior, from choosing to buy sustainable seafood to avoiding plastic bags and containers that can become marine trash.  They are leading change among their peers and in their communities.  It is time for the business community in particular to get more involved and help increase the pace and scale of learning and positive action.

In association with National Geographic, The Economist is covening the World Oceans Summit on February 22nd-24th in Singapore to bring together over 200 leaders from various sectors and disciplines to discuss the future health, and strategies for sustainable use, of the ocean. In a time when corporations and governments are exploring the expanding economic potential of the ocean, it is critical to understand how such potential can be realized in a sustainable way.   Those that will participate – business, government, academia, international organizations and NGOs – all have a role to play in expanding knowledge and leading change.

As we look to the new year, making resolutions and prioritizing our time and commitments, we can all commit to rethinking our relationship with the ocean and taking some action – however large or small – for positive change.

Miguel Angel Jorge is the Managing Director of 50in10, working to expand the organization's network of stakeholders, facilitate knowledge sharing about sustainable fisheries management, and help design and support collaborative fishery restoration programs implemented by the organization's partners around the world. Before joining 50in10, Miguel was Director of the National Geographic Society’s Ocean Initiative, which strives to restore the ocean’s health and productivity. He joined NGS in February of 2010. Previously Miguel worked as Director of WWF-International’s Marine Program, where he oversaw the their global strategies on fisheries and seafood, shipping and high-seas conservation policy. Before that Miguel worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean on marine, freshwater conservation and large-scale conservation planning processes, in the Gulf of California, Galapagos and Mesoamerican Reef. In his early career, Miguel worked in a wide array of areas, from aquaculture to refugee camp conflict mediator, to delegate at UN meetings. A native of Cuba, he has also lived in the US, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Switzerland. Miguel has a Masters in Marine Policy and a Bachelor’s in Aquatic Biology.
  • Ima Ryma

    We are the oceans of this Earth,
    Ever in sight, oft out of mind,
    While wasted for the short sight worth
    Of dreams and schemes of humankind.
    Our waters flow dark and deep,
    Encroached upon by humans who
    Make more mischief into us seep,
    Causing harm only humans do.
    In nature’s way we can restore,
    But so much damage has been done,
    And with each day the harm is more.
    We oceans perish one by one.

    We are the oceans to reveal
    We need the humans’ help to heal.


    Discussing is not enough. We need to take action.

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