United Nations, June 6th 2011
Visiting the recent Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations, we had the unique chance to meet and observe some of the most influential people in educating and inspiring the youth demographic to make progress in positive changes around the world. At the event, we spoke with and listened to distinguished attendees such as Ted Danson and Barbara Bush. We had the amazing opportunity to interview both of these social innovators, and asked them to tell us about their individual passions and efforts in making the world a better place for all.
In our interview with Ted Danson, we learned a lot about educating ourselves to help the oceanic environment as well as protect our own health. Ted Danson, best known for his character on Cheers and his recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, spoke to us about the dangers the fish and other ocean animals are experiencing around the world. In addition, he reminded us that their problems would soon become ours as we begin to face harder social and environmental challenges.
Ted was enthusiastic to share his belief that everyone can take the first step to help out when it comes and improving ocean life by keeping informed on the challenges and efforts being made to meet them. “Becoming an ocean advocate can make a huge difference,” says Ted. Although we might not yet understand the true dangers that fish face, it is time that we all become active in promoting action to protect their ocean environments. One of the most important ways we can do this is by spreading the world, and to do so we need to let everyone know the facts and the truth.
Ted reminded us that a decision as simple as ordering fish at a restaurant should be made in consideration of its environmental impacts. Today, most restaurants and supermarkets provide their consumers with farm-raised fish. Unfortunately, what many do not realize when we pick up something such as farm-raised salmon is that over five pounds of fish had to be taken out of the ocean for as little as one pound of what we purchase. This is not only wasteful but also extremely destructive- and as Ted helped us understand, an unsustainable system. To help, he suggests that we educate ourselves on the social, economic and environmental factors that bring us our menu and market choices. Then we can make informed and sustainable decisions in our daily lives without simply cutting fish out of our lives.
Even though this is a huge issue with far-reaching consequences, at this time our government only allocates 1% of its collected donations to help marine justice groups. As Ted explains, “It is an issue that is out of sight and out of mind.” A great way to continue to help is to visit his organization’s website, http://www.oceana.org. There, you can sign up to receive weekly email updates on the challenges and progress in ocean justice around the world. With today’s modern technology, there is even a smartphone app to help marine protection, which is free and easy to download called the Seafood Watch App. Ted has faith that together with the efforts of individuals and organizations alike, we can make positive progress to help preserve the ocean environments for future generations. When not acting, Ted spends most of this time advocating for the protection of our oceans. We can learn a lot from a man who is so passionate and charismatic in his entertainment career, and yet dedicates so much time and emotional energy to a cause that will affect generations to come.
Barbara Bush, another speaker at the United Nations shared some of her insight with us as well. As the CEO and co founder of Global Health Corps, she is also an active member of UNICEF’s next generation steering committee. Barbara is a huge advocate for youth leadership, and helping to involve and educate a new generation of leaders in social and environmental justice. She spoke passionately at the summit about the importance of social media extremely in the future of non-profits, and is focusing her work on involving college graduates between 20-30 years old. She believes that online recruiting has become and integral and convenient step to initiate social progress in the years to come. Barbara explains, “I am eager to learn how others make progress.”
Together, the social innovation summit serves as a forum for influencers to use technology, innovation, and experience to create social change in many different areas. Their main goal is to connect these like-minded individuals to use all their resources towards the many important and evolving causes. This summit represents an amazing interdisciplinary collaboration, and we were proud to bear witness to this gathering of passionate individuals who have chosen to dedicate their efforts to important issues larger than themselves.