Bringing About a Sea of Change

National Geographic Kid Reporter Mallory Moore reports on "Our Ocean" conference held at the State Department.

Nat Geo Kid Reporter Mallory Moore talks to U.S. leaders and a Nat Geo explorer at the "Our Ocean" conference to find out how we can help the oceans.

Published June 26, 2014

by Mallory Moore, National Geographic Kid Reporter

On June 16 and 17, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the "Our Ocean" conference at the State Department to draw attention to the threats our oceans are facing and what people can do to protect them.

Secretary Kerry talked with me about why he loves the ocean and shared some of his favorite ocean activities like sailing. Secretary Kerry believes kids can do a lot to protect the ocean, like picking up trash and making sure plastic bottles and bags never get in the ocean in the first place. These small actions can make a big difference.

On a world scale, Kerry said countries need to come together and discuss international solutions through meetings like the "Our Ocean" conference. At this conference, leaders of countries like the U.S. and Palau, ocean experts like National Geographic Explorers in Residence Sylvia Earle and Enric Sala, celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and scientists from organizations like NASA, NOAA, and National Geographic came together to pledge to do more to protect the ocean.

At the conference I also interviewed Under Secretary Catherine Novelli, who came up with the idea to host this conference at the State Department. She explained to me that in the same way that our government protects the land by creating parks, the oceans can be protected by marine reserves, or areas of the ocean where fishing and human activity are not allowed.

National Geographic Explorer in Residence Enric Sala also talked to me about the work he is doing with National Geographic to save the last wild places in the ocean through a project called Pristine Seas which creates large protected areas in the ocean around the world. At the conference, the United States, Palau and Kiribati and The Bahamas pledged to create large marine protected areas.

Visiting the State Department for the "Our Ocean" conference and talking with officials there and at NOAA and NASA really helped me understand that our oceans are in trouble so we need to do everything we can to learn more about the oceans and take steps to protect it.

Photographs by Anna Irwin