Oceana Honors Bill Clinton, Trudie Styler and Sting for Their Environmental Work

Styler Oceans Hoffman Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana
Oceana is an organization that works to protect and conserve the world's oceans. On October 18, 2008, they held an awards ceremony in Pacific Palisades, California to honor Bill Clinton, Trudie Styler and Sting. Treehugger was there to catch all the action. We even spoke to Ted Danson. The Oceana Partners Award
By all the action, I mean standing at the end of a lengthy press line, a small laminated square labeled "Treehugger" near my feet. Instead of a red carpet, they spread out an ocean-blue carpet for the celebrities to tread upon. A few celebrities walked the carpet, but most of them went anonymously through the side door.
Danson Steenburgen BlueCarpet Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

Oceana honors Bill Clinton for his climate change initiative.

Clinton was being honored for his work on the Clinton Climate Initiative. President Clinton asked for no press. Please enjoy this official photo of him.
President Oceana Honored Photo

photo by wikipedia

Sting and Trudie Styler are awarded for rainforest conservation.
Sting, guitar in hand, and Trudie Styler were among the first celebrities to arrive. They were being honored for their work with the Rainforests. Together, they created the Rainforest Foundation in 1989. They took a few photographs and talked to the some of the television reporters but made their way quickly down the carpet.

Trudie Oceana Andrew Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

Trudie was stopped by a fashion reporter who was standing next to me. Trudie spoke to this reporter for a few minutes about clothing, and Stlyer finished her remarks with some words about the rainforests and their importance.

Later, I overheard that fashion reporter say, "When she [Trudie] started talking about the environment, I just zoned out." I looked at the little Treehugger sign near my feet.

Oceana is working to protect our oceans

Oceana's website is chock-full of information about their various projects and operations. They have campaigns that deal with climate change, dirty fishing, destructive seafloor trawling, seafood contamination, the protection of sea turtles, sharks and other marine life and cruise-ship pollution.

Danson Ocean Conservation Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

These people are no slouches. They've worked with the United States government to protect a great deal—460 million acres—of the western US coastline from destructive trawling. For those of you who don't know, destructive trawling scrapes the sea floor in an attempt to harvest more fish. This practice results in the death of coral, and it destroys valuable coastal ecosystems.

Andrew Sharpless discusses the uncertain future of the oceans.

I spoke briefly with Andrew Sharpless the CEO of Oceana. He told me that of all the environmental concerns that the ocean is the most fixable and that the biggest problem facing the oceans is overfishing and destructive fishing. Over 90% of the large predatory fish are gone and fisheries are collapsing all over the world.

"There are no people in the ocean if you haven't noticed," he told me, smiling. "There isn't constant competition for resources like on land. If you give the fish a break, they'll come back."

Sharpless CEO Oceans Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

If you want to see a really fascinating speech about the ecological concerns of the ocean, Sharpless gives a great one on the Oceana website.

Sharpless also stressed that the ocean is a cause that needs support. "There are lots of people working on climate change," he said. "But less than one half of one percent of all resources spent by North American conservation groups go to the ocean."

Ted Danson describes Oceana's goals

Ted Danson is the most notable member of Oceana. Danson founded the American Oceans Campaign in 1987. This organization became Oceana in 2001. After a grueling press line, including a photo op with a surfboard donated by Karina Petroni to Oceana for a silent auction, Mr. Danson took a few moments to speak to Treehugger.

Ted Oceana Surfer Photo

photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

"A Treehugger," he said, happily. My hands nervously shook. Danson stood very close, maintaining direct eye-contact. I thanked him for his time and got down to business.

"Just a couple of questions," I promised.

I asked Danson about the land that his organization helped set aside and if there was more lands being set aside. He told me that his organization was hard at work in the Mediterranean, setting aside land."Not because of destructive-trawling problems, but to protect the bluefin tuna," he said.

"What is the most pressing and attainable goal of Oceana?" I asked.

"Oceana is working hard with the World Trade Organization to eliminate fishing subsidies and to use that subsidy money to help rebuild those neighborhoods that were destroyed by overfishing."

Danson was suddenly called away by a guest. After a couple of minutes, he made his way back to me. It was mere moments before the ceremony started.

"I'd better go," he said, shaking my hand. Then he disappeared through the doors where the ceremony was being held.


photo by Dahlhouse Productions/Oceana

More on the oceans and Oceana:

Amber Valletta, Ted Danson and Daphne Zuniga Get Word Out on Mercury
The Sundance Channel Announces "The Green" Advisory Committee
Fuzzy Math Leads to a (Serious) Reevaluation of Shipping's Climate Impact