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Advocates call to conserve the oceans

Mary Abigail Go

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Globally renowned water issues advocate, explorer, and filmmaker, Alexandra Cousteau, together with other environmental advocates, visited Silliman University to promote ocean conservation by providing new ways for sustainable fishing management and educating the youth to uphold marine laws.

“The time to save the oceans is now and we have to do it like our lives depend on it, because it does,” Cousteau, who was also the Oceana senior advisor, said in her lecture “Save the Oceans, Feed the World” last Sept. 2 at the Audio-Visual Theater 1.

Alexandra is the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, who was a famous French oceanographer, researcher, filmmaker, and undersea explorer.

The lecture aims to have the youth share the advocacy of conserving the ocean.

Cousteau shared that she joined Oceana, an international non-profit organization that focuses on marine conservation, because she has seen in her travels the urgencies of ocean conservation as the sanctuaries she enjoyed before are either polluted or damaged.

Cousteau said that “we should protect it because it’s a part of our lives. It is a mode of transportation, source for food, and provides oxygen.”

She reminds the youth that “we have an impact in the daily choices we make and this battle needs conscious choices to diminish the destruction of oceans.” She also encourages them to be part of the civil society by supporting and joining groups and non-profit organizations, signing petitions, and voting wisely.

Also at the lecture, were two winners of the “Ocean Heroes Awards” given by Oceana Philippines to individuals who have been working to conserve and protect the marine sanctuaries and oceans in the country.

Veda Raunillo, from Guihulngan, was credited for upholding marine protection and mangrove rehabilitation in her community despite being harassed and threatened.

Genita Dayupay, who received the award on behalf of her late husband, is the widow of Oliver Dayupay from Ayungon. Oliver was awarded for his regular participation in biannual reef monitoring projects due to his extensive knowledge of corals. He also organized fishermen in protecting the town’s marine sanctuary from illegal fishers.

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