According to Brad Ack, the senior vice president of World Wildlife Fund’s United States Oceans program, for much of human history, society has thought of our oceans as “too big to fail.” But the startling research in WWF’s biannual Living Planet Report proves this is not the case. And when something “too big to fail” fails, we all have a very big problem.
At the Collaborative, Ack spoke at the “Technology Powering Wildlife and Environmental Conservation” panel. His talk laid out the destructive impact humans have already had on the planet’s oceans and explained how WWF invests in innovative technologies and businesses to prevent the continued breakdown of our ecosystem.
What’s at Stake
“The oceans literally are the life support system of the planet,” Ack said during the panel. They not only serve as a source of food and fuel the creation of fresh water, the oceans also help regulate the Earth’s climate, produce oxygen, and provide jobs for people all over the world.
Ack explained that in a study by WWF and The Boston Consulting Group, they found that the oceans’ value in trade, transportation, food, carbon absorption, and other benefits was $24 trillion. Simply put, the oceans are collectively one of humanity’s most valuable assets.
Unfortunately, we are using these assets at an unsustainable rate. “This is the point in time when a massive shift is needed,” said Ack.
Nurturing Breakthrough Solutions
WWF and other environmental organizations know that our efforts to date are insufficient and that we need to look for bold new solutions. WWF actively looks for innovative ideas through initiatives such as their Smart Gear competition. Participants were challenged to reinvent common fishing equipment to avoid damage to the oceans and the species within it.
WWF has also recently launched the Oceans X Labs digital platform and incubator to accelerate and scale new environmental solutions. “We want to harness exponential technologies, accelerate the development of products and solutions based on those technologies, and push those out–hopefully, largely in profit-making enterprises,” Ack said during the Collaborative panel. Their first area of focus for the incubator is the development of ocean farming and they are already looking for solutions to overfishing.
Check out the full presentation below to discover…
- The staggering size of our ecological footprint.
- The complex role of the oceans in many parts of human life.
- How Oceans X Labs plans to scale environmental solutions.
- Ten of the biggest challenges in ocean conservation.
WWF is just one of the influential social impact organizations working to discover and scale innovative solutions. To learn more about how the social sector continues to adapt and create impact, join us at the 2019 Collaborative.