From the Field

How aquatic alliances work to support ocean sustainability

The world’s oceans serve critical functions for communities, economies, and ecosystems. 


The world’s oceans serve critical functions for communities, economies, and ecosystems. But this precious resource faces daunting challenges from climate-related risks, pollution, and overuse. Sustainable development and conservation efforts to combat these challenges are vital. In this special edition, host Nick Trueman is joined by guests from the National Aquarium in Baltimore. John Racanelli (Chief Executive Officer) and Jenn Driban (Chief Mission Officer) to discuss the importance of connecting people with water and their vision for a global community of hopeful conservationists.

Podcast Host

Nick Trueman Head of EMEA Distribution


John Racanelli Chief Executive Officer, from the National Aquarium
Jenn Driban Chief Mission Officer, from the National Aquarium
View Transcript

Nick T

Welcome to The Angle from T. Rowe Price. Sharper insights on the forces shaping financial markets begin here. In this inaugural season of The Angle, we're diving into the world of the blue economy. I'm Nick Truman, and I'll be your host as we learn more about this intriguing and rapidly evolving area of the world economy and financial markets. In previous episodes, we focused on the importance of the world's water resources for economic development and the threats they're facing.

We've also discussed how innovations in finance can work to support sustainable development efforts in the blue economy. Today, we're thrilled to be joined by representatives from the National Aquarium. T. Rowe Price and the National Aquarium both have headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. So it's fantastic to be able to shine a light on the incredible work of the National Aquarium as they help us learn more about the underlying threats confronting our ocean ecosystems.

With me, are John Racanelli, president and CEO at National Aquarium, who leads his team on their global mission to connect people with nature while inspiring care and compassion for our ocean planet. And Jenn Driban, senior vice president and Chief Mission Officer. Jenn leads the National Aquarium's government affairs strategy and conservation policy work; education programs and partnerships; and its learning and engagement programs.

John and Jenn, welcome to the podcast.

John R

Thanks, Nick. Great to be here.

Jenn D

Thank you, Nick.

Nick T

Great. So let's get the discussion started. John, why don't we start with you helping our listeners understand the important work of the National Aquarium?

John R

Yeah, well, the National Aquarium opened in 1981, some 43 years ago, and since that time has welcomed over 70 million people through its halls. But that's only part of the equation. We really combine education, research, conservation action, and advocacy, and in doing so, pursue a vision that's around creating a global community of hopeful conservationists who are united to help restore our planet.

So we focus deeply on conservation initiatives, which I think Jenn will talk about in a minute, intended to provide real solutions for protecting aquatic and marine life alongside human communities who are, after all, part of nature, too. We focus on three particular areas: combating climate change, saving wildlife and habitats and stopping plastic pollution, all three of which are pretty major initiatives. And we also are very deeply involved in animal rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine mammals, including seals and endangered sea turtles throughout the mid Atlantic region. And we also engage in a lot of research efforts around these and other types of species. And then at last and definitely not least, we're very much involved in educating students to the tune of tens of thousands per year, hundreds of thousands since our inception-- to try to create that next generation of environmental stewards.

Nick T

And as someone who's been a regular visitor to Baltimore, I can really urge anybody in the inner harbor that they've got to visit the National Aquarium. It's a fantastic site and well worth a visit. Jenn, can you share some examples of the current conservation work or lobbying initiatives that you have going on at the moment?

Jenn D

Thank you, Nick. I'm happy to do that. At the National Aquarium, we connect people with nature, as you mentioned, to really inspire compassion and care for our ocean planet.

We're dedicated to advancing conservation by protecting and restoring the environment, and caring and advocating for animals, and educating and empowering people to care for the world around them. And it's really the people piece that is critical to the work that we do.

We're creating memorable experiences that spark connection and curiosity and empathy for the natural world that is around us. And we couple this work with comprehensive policies-change strategies that we know are really necessary to address global climate change and its impacts on our people and our planet: from bans on single-use plastics at the local level here in Baltimore, to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the state of Maryland and in other states across the United States. And then the ongoing work that we have in coalitions that we have helped form to really impact at a national and global scale.

In 2016, the National Aquarium helped co-found the Aquarium Conservation Partnership, which is a partnership of 27 aquariums across the United States dedicated to advancing conservation through our collective impact. And together, these aquariums welcome over 25 million visitors per year and advocate for policy solutions that advance conservation nationally and internationally. And it's really that collective work of all of our institutions together that enables us to push the needle on some of these major conservation initiatives that John mentioned earlier.

Nick T

So that's a lot about the work that you're doing in the States. Perhaps a couple of comments, Jenn, on some of the international work.

Jenn D

We have a great program and a great long-standing relationship with Australia. We opened a large Australian exhibit a number of years ago and at the time, created a great partnership with Australia. We’ve got an ongoing relationship with the ambassador.

We work with schoolchildren that come to the United States, that learn about all of the activities here, and it’s just created this wonderful human partnership centered around the natural species and educating others across the globe about those natural species in that country.

John R

Yeah, I would add to that. Well, first of all, we have a keystone species that we do a lot with that is in in its own right, a kind of an ambassador to many nations, and that’s the threatened and endangered sea turtles, of which there are five species, four of which are found in our waters and often unfortunately are found on our beaches, stranded and in need of help.

And these are turtles that migrate from as far north as Canadian Arctic and as far south as the Caribbean. They touch about 20 different countries in their travels. And so we’re one of the entities along the way that helps them keep up their little task of global diplomacy. But on a more direct scale, I think, we've always focused on providing conservation support and energy and even research in areas that are that are aligned with our exhibits.

And Jen mentioned Australia - similarly in the Amazonian rainforest and in the rainforests of Central America, most particularly Costa Rica, we've worked with a couple of different NGOs, including the Center for Ecosystems Survival, to try to, on the one hand, encourage support from our guests, which has been brought in fairly significant numbers over the years to help with those efforts, and on the other, to be there both in situ and also back here in Baltimore as a research entity that can help provide for the kind of ecological systems analysis and support that they need to ensure the success of critical ecosystems like rainforests.

So, we continue to find those opportunities. Now we're working with sharks and shark biology, which again is a global pandemic species, and we'll continue to do that kind of work throughout the years, both on our own and also in concert with many of our partners.

Nick T

So Jenn mentioned the importance of human partnerships. I think our listeners would be really interested to hear a little bit more about you two, how you got into the roles that you're doing today.

John R

You know, I think some of us were if we weren't born with gills, we acquired them early in our evolution, and I'm certainly one. Water has been a central part of my life since my earliest memories. And I think really as a hyper kid, I needed something like the ocean to provide focus and frankly, a calming effect.

Whenever I found myself in water, I found myself really kind of more focused and more serene than perhaps I was in the classroom. I grew up in California, learned to snorkel when I was about eight and scuba dive when I was 15, which was the absolute youngest age you could. And I was lucky to be able to go to a couple of different universities in the California system, on the coast. In fact, I think I kind of picked my colleges by the quality of the surfing.

So I went to UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz, majored in environmental studies, environmental planning, but ultimately got my degree in business. And I think that really kind of moved me in a certain direction. During college, I worked as a diver at a marine park on San Francisco Bay, and I fell in love with the idea of what we were doing.

Although frankly, I wanted to be more directly involved in interacting with the public. So I jumped at the opportunity to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium early on, in fact, was one of its earliest employees and was there for the first ten years of that great aquarium’s life as the head of external affairs. Along the way in my career as a as an aquarium person, I also had the amazing opportunity to work very closely with a woman named Sylvia Earle.

She is an ocean scientist, an explorer, a writer, and really, some would say America's Jacques Cousteau. I like to say that Jacques Cousteau was France's Sylvia Earle. But either way, just an amazing person, who has done so much for ocean awareness and conservation. And Sylvia and I worked closely together in the early 2000s to form her foundation, Mission Blue, which is now a big force and which had a lot to do with my decision in 2011 to get back into the aquarium world and come lead the National Aquarium.

And here we are nigh, these 12 years later, I've never looked back. It's been a great experience. And being at the National Aquarium is really giving me a chance to flex those muscles and be a part of the solutions that we all know we need to be.

Nick T

Yeah. Thanks, John. Jenn, what about you? What was your inspiration? How did you start on this journey?

Jenn D

Similar to John’s story, I am the daughter of two beach bums and my dad was a surfer, so I really had no choice but to love the ocean. All of our family vacations were plopped on a beach, you know, just enjoying the waves and enjoying the sand. I’m also a diver, and there’s really nothing more spectacular than seeing the ocean from below the surface.

It’s hard to really care for something that you can’t see, which is why it’s so critical for aquariums to exist. And personally, I’m driven every day to implement tangible change, to really improve the lives of people and our environment. Therefore, the first chapter of my career was really spent in politics and policy change and culminating with a decade that I spent on Capitol Hill here in the United States.

And I was really pleased with the progress that we were able to make from the inside out. But I could see the scale of what was needed to tackle some of these larger changes and knew that I wanted to take a stab at seeing what we could accomplish from the outside in, which is when I decided to join the National Aquarium and really start to influence some of these larger problems like climate change from the outside in and really change people’s perspective on those issues.

I’m also the mother of two amazing daughters, and I’m constantly thinking about the future with them in mind. I lead their Girl Scout troop, and I always come back to the concept in scouting of “Leaving No Trace.” And it's really meant that when you spend time outdoors and enjoying nature, you leave nothing behind. And I can't help but think that leaving no trace is just not good enough anymore.

Now we really need to leave the planet better than we found it for these future generations. And so that's really the guiding light for me and something that really drives me here in our work.

Nick T

I think we should talk about what makes the work of the National Aquarium so important right now. Extreme weather events seem to be more common. Global warming is seeing the planet rapidly approach critical temperature rises that are commonly identified as potential tipping points. John, help us understand the impacts that these trends have on ocean health.

John R

Absolutely. As my friend, colleague, and mentor Sylvia would say, no blue, no green. The ocean really is the driver for the planetary health and the very thin envelope in which we humans do survive and thrive. The majority of the oxygen that we're breathing today comes from phytoplankton-- small, tiny, microscopic plants that live in the upper centimeter of the oceans throughout the global ocean producing that oxygen.

So something like four out of five of the next breaths you take are going to be courtesy of those little critters in the ocean. So it's providing our oxygen. It is sequestering our carbon at a significant level. And unfortunately, since pre-industrial times, that amount of carbon that it's taken up is exponentially greater than it once was. And the ocean's capacity to continue to absorb that carbon is becoming less and less due to the chemical changes that it's causing in seawater.

And third, and equally important is the critical role of the ocean in mitigating climate and especially mitigating weather and balancing climate conditions. The ocean has always had that modulating effect on weather. And as it gets warmer, it is actually losing some of the capacity to do that.

So starting there, combating climate change starts with caring for the ocean that cares for us. The big threats already mentioned ocean warming. I think beyond that, acidification, which is part of that phenomenon of an overabundance of carbon, which can lead to very significant ecosystem degradation. Animals like corals need calcium carbonate to make their structures, their what are effectively shells that protect them and create the reefs that then create habitat and protect shorelines.

All of that is dependent upon calcium carbonate, but calcium carbonate is diminished when there's too much carbon in the water, and their shells basically can't aid them. And then biodiversity loss, which we hear a lot about, but it is really a very critical function. In addition to species like the families of corals that provide structures in the ocean, other plant species like kelp provide habitats that then support huge associations of other animals, and all of that supports the kind of lives that we humans live.

And remember, 4 billion, that's billion with a B, humans get their primary source of protein from the sea. So a healthy ocean does a lot of things to keep us healthy and thriving on the planet. And it also keeps a lot of people very much alive. I might let Jenn talk about some of the other issues we face.

Jenn D

Thanks, John. The National Aquarium also, as we mentioned earlier, believes that plastic pollution is a problem that we can stop in our lifetime. If we make some critical changes, we believe it is something that we can stop. Micro and nanoparticles are ending up

becoming part of the food that we eat and science is reporting that they are actually in our bodies already.

And so the problem is really imperative. And the National Aquarium is focused on really stopping that plastic pollution in excess. So we have been working since 2016, 2017 on reducing and eliminating single use plastics from our operations at the National Aquarium.

We are trying to do our part as a economic producer to reduce our reliance on single use plastics and thus starting to create that behavior change in our guests and those that interact with the National Aquarium on a daily basis to really change their behavior and show that you can live a full and rich life without single-use plastics.

Nick T

Well, we've talked on our series on the blue economy about the interplay between oceans and clean water resources and the potential for more sustainable development. John referenced earlier how vital the oceans are for the livelihoods of billions, with a B, of people in terms of employment, income, and food. They're important for transportation and international trade. Marine tourism accounts for a substantial proportion of international tourism.

John, is it possible for conservation and development or human activity to find a better balance?

John R

Well, the short answer is yes, absolutely it is. Our philosophy is that water connects us all.

Not only does it provide a way for humans to move from one continent to another, but obviously we don't live long without freshwater. And again, as I mentioned earlier, we really rely on the ocean. And frankly, it's interesting. I refer to it as the ocean, one ocean. We have oceans within the world ocean. But it is all one interconnected system. And I think that's one of the critical points that we have to remind ourselves of when we talk about coexisting with the ocean. Inputs in one place have outputs in others.

Jenn D

In addition to that, we've been working on initiatives like 30 by 30, which is a wonderful initiative that says that if we can protect 30% of the world's land and water by 2030, that we can actually do a significant job of reducing the amount of biodiversity loss that we are currently experiencing. Dr. Enric Sala, another explorer and academic, has reminded us that in order to really stem this tide of biodiversity loss, that these protections are really critical.

And so, America the Beautiful is an initiative that was recently brought forward by the Biden administration that the National Aquarium has been involved with to really start to protect land and water here in the United States, trying to get to that 30% of land and water by 2030 goal. In addition to that, we have committed as an organization to achieving net zero for greenhouse gas emissions from the aquarium's operations by 2035.

Our goal is in striving to support policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and making business operations changes, like eliminating single-use plastics or reducing carbon emissions, that we can actually have a big impact on the economy as a whole and also on the behavior of other organizations and other businesses and governments who can also make these changes.

John R

So, yes, I think there are opportunities for balancing economic activity and conservation. For example, marine protected areas. Jenn touched on that. The 30 by 30 initiative, the science of marine protected areas is very clear. By establishing these protected areas, not only do we preserve, hopefully, an area that might be pristine, might be a very critical spot on the planet, but it also tends to improve the yields of fishing concerns around that protected area

When you give animals opportunities to not be under the threat of constantly being taken up by nets or to be able to reproduce and have generational success in reproduction, then you do increase the potential for fishing in areas, not just around the MPA, but throughout that region. And that's been demonstrated by some really good science done by a number of our colleagues, both in the aquarium profession and university academia.

Nick T

John, could you just define MPA.

John R

I'm sorry, that's marine protected area. MPA Yeah.

Nick T

Okay. Thank you.

John R

So, so marine protected areas are one of those ways. Another is really taking a more careful and thoughtful look at the kinds of resources we take out of the ocean starting, of course, with the life of the ocean, fish and other invertebrates. Industrial scale fishing is unfortunately a reality in our times. It's not a good thing. In general terms, industrial scale fishing is a kind of an absolutist approach we’ll sweep this section of the ocean clean of all biota, all living things, and we'll harvest what we can and throw back the rest.

It's not a great way. If you did that on your farm, your farm would be destroyed in the first few years. And it doesn't make sense in the ocean either. We have to be able to fish in a more thoughtful way for targeted species and using means that are less invasive and less destructive to the marine ecosystem.

And then another example I'll give, of course, is offshore wind development. That is a positive development. There are mitigations that need to be done, particularly around avian bird life, but that is being done very successfully in parts of the world. So there's a lot of misinformation now around the impact of wind turbines offshore on whales and other animals.

And yet there's almost no science that suggests that once they're up and running, that windmills create any kind of disturbance to the animals in the sea and with proper mitigations, their impacts can be managed as they relate to shorebirds and seabirds. All of these are examples of how we can work together to make sure conservation imperatives are met, even as we develop in ways that humankind needs to continue to persist.

Nick T

So, John, you've touched on some broad, important topics there. Jenn, I learned that there's going to be a new floating wetland near the T. Rowe Price global headquarters in Baltimore. Perhaps you can talk a little bit more about some of the local efforts that you're working on.

John R

The fun stuff.

Jenn D

Yeah, we're very, very excited for the harbor wetland, Nick, that you're referencing. It's going to be a 10,000 square foot engineered floating wetland that will be in between the aquarium’s two piers, opening this summer. And this is, we believe, the largest floating wetland of its kind that's really engineered to sustain and to be there for a long period of time.

It will have a floating dock on it so that people, while they're walking around Baltimore's famous Inner Harbor Promenade can actually walk down onto the floating wetland and be amongst the grasses and the shrubs and the animals that we know will live there. This is a really important project. It will be as I mentioned, free and open to the public.

It will be an outdoor classroom for a lot of our educational programs, where we welcome Baltimore City students and students around Maryland in the region that will get to come down into the Inner Harbor and actually see what's living there. Our goal is to return some of the tidal marsh that would have been in the Baltimore Harbor before industrialized times.

And so by bringing back this traditional marshland, we're providing habitat, we're providing cooler water. We're actually going to be taking up nutrients from the inner harbor with all of this plant life and bringing back biodiversity is really the goal here. In connecting people with the water, which as we've mentioned, is really critical and important to why we exist as an organization, this will be that physical connection where people actually get down and can see the plant life that's there. Even though we're attracting visitors from around the globe at the National Aquarium, our philosophy is really that we belong to Baltimore. We continually invest in projects like this harbor wetland to engage city residents in the important conservation work that's right here in their neighborhoods.

And we're really, really committed to that.

John R

Nick, could I add one thing to what Jenn just said?

Nick T

Yep, please go ahead, John.

John R

One great metaphor for what Jenn just described would have to be our program called What Lives in the Harbor, which we do with all the sixth graders in the Baltimore City School system. And it was funded by a by a seed grant from NOAA, the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration. But now we pick up the cost on that, and it gets every sixth grader in the school system of Baltimore City down to the aquarium to spend a half a day learning about what lives in the harbor.

And that's the title of the program. And it's actually the main postulation: the kids come down, having made their theorem about what lives in the harbor, and amazingly, many of them come down thinking that nothing lives in the harbor. One of the teachers who's been central to the program described how before we started doing this, she would have to take her kids to a storm drain near their school to talk about the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

And indeed, that storm drain is connected to the outer waters of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the world, yet to have to use that to describe something as complex and beautiful and rich as the Chesapeake Bay watershed is really very sad. So being able to do that now with our prototype, which is a postage stamp sized model of working living model of our floating wetland, but soon with the harbor wetland complex itself, the floating classrooms that Jenn mentioned, is going to just add a world of opportunity for these kids who grow up in an urban setting and need to know how much they are part of the natural systems that surround them.

Nick T

And that sounds like an amazing program and fantastic to have that for the schoolchildren in and around Baltimore. Let's explore a little here the roles and responsibilities in driving change towards getting a better balance. So one of the Aquarium's core values is about connectedness, which I think is very linked to what we've been talking about. Individuals, communities, nonprofits, regulators, governments the financial services industry. What are your views on how all these parties fit together?

John R

Why don’t I start, and I'll hand it over to Jenn, too? You know, of course, we try to create opportunities for behavior change through a variety of means. We start as you heard Jenn say, with getting people to understand, which leads to caring. The three key words in our mission that we really turn back to are connection, care, and compassion, and they're very interrelated by getting people to establish that connection with natural systems, with habitats whether they're alien to them like an undersea reef, a coral reef, or whether they're familiar like, you know, a Maryland forest.

And I'd say some examples of that, in addition to some of the onsite things we've talked about, include things like the trainings that we do. We have a program that's called the

National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpreters. It's a long title, NNOCCI for short, that trains staff at aquariums, science centers, natural history museums, NGOs, and other organizations to utilize social science research to enable them to frame discussions in ways that can provide productive and behavior-changing conversations around climate change. A good example of which is they’ve learned to use very simple metaphors, like a heat trapping blanket, to describe what happens with greenhouse gas overabundance.

Jenn D

I would add that we really believe that bold, collective action is what is going to revive and restore the planet. And that's really through systemic change and consistent advocacy. So we see 1.2 million people that come through the doors of the National Aquarium on an annual basis, engage with millions more on social media and other platforms.

And our goal is to create a whole world of little hopeful conservationists who can go out and really work together to create the systemic change that we know is needed. There's a balance between the societal needs and the environmental protection that needs to take place. And frankly, with a lot of innovation that has come to light. John mentioned offshore wind development, other renewable energies that we need to further develop in order to sustain the humans on our planet.

There really is a balance that we need to achieve and it's the larger system and the role that we all play that is really going to make the large-scale changes that we need.

John R

I'll add to that that bold collective action that we're talking about here needs the support of the private sector. I think buy in from the financial sector is what allows us to drive the kind of positive change that needs to happen at the governmental and regulatory level and supports the behavior change that we think humans are capable of.

Nick T

When we think about many of the issues that we’ve covered today and the environmental urgency around water and ocean conservation, it can seem overwhelming. Neither of you seem overwhelmed, which I think is a good thing. Jenn, how can we have more productive communication on climate change and conservation issues and advocate for potential solutions?

Jenn D

As John mentioned earlier, with this national network and training program that we utilize called NNOCCI. Our goal is really to break down complex science into terms that everyone can understand and to really communicate about it in a way that all folks can approach.

And so we're utilizing this social science research to ensure that we're framing those discussions in a productive manner.

Here in the United States, climate change can be polarizing, and our goal is to break it down into scientific terms so that it isn't polarizing and that it's understandable to all of the public and that they are then able to understand their role in climate change overall.

Actually, our staff go through this training program, as John mentioned, and we've actually even taken that show on the road and trained, even elected officials and their staff about communicating about climate change so that they understand the underlying science, but they also understand how to communicate about this in a way that is solutions focused and is really positive rather than negative.

And, you know, I think that that trickles out to legislation that is comprehensive. There have been pieces of legislation, especially here in Maryland. Last year, we passed the Climate Solutions Now Act, which sets greenhouse emissions reduction targets for the state of Maryland, and those types of comprehensive pieces of legislation that affect all sectors-- It doesn't just affect the government; it affects all sectors of business and nonprofits in the state of Maryland, wouldn't have been possible without an understanding of the global impacts of climate change.

Nick T

John, can you use one of the Aquarium's practical business decisions to illustrate implementing a conservation initiative?

John R

I can give you several. I'll pick a couple. You know, again, the overarching objective here is to walk our talk and demonstrate that to our audiences that we serve both on site and beyond, because we consume a lot of energy, and we create and pump seawater through the system every day and every night, 24 seven 365. So it's important that we lead by example. Now three years ago, we committed to becoming net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2035. And we're doing a variety of initiatives now to move ourselves down that pathway. We set up a power purchase agreement with our local energy company, now attain over 40% of our energy from completely renewable means, such as solar and will soon be hopefully accessing offshore wind as that comes into play. And we've of course, moved away from high consumption energy fixtures, water fixtures, etc. to again ensure that we are setting an example within our operations. And then of course, we mentioned about single use plastics. Jenn mentioned that and we've cut back literally millions of plastic bottles in the seven or eight years now since we launched that initiative and continue to find ways to conserve materials in our operations.

There's a perception that conservation can be too expensive, that it takes something away, or sometimes that it can be overwhelming and too complex to address. Obviously, we don't feel that way. For us, it is a function of just taking the right steps forward and setting an example and then sharing what we've learned in a very open source fashion so that others can benefit from our learnings.

Nick T

Thanks, John. Last question for today. I want to zero in on areas of opportunity and progress. Jenn, where are areas where you're seeing advances and initiatives that we can all be encouraged by?

Jenn D

Frankly, when we're talking about these huge global issues, it's easy to be discouraged, but I actually think the opposite is true. There's a lot to be hopeful for because the right people are having the right conversations. And from those conversations, this bold collective action that we've mentioned a few times is really happening, whether it's the Our Oceans Conference or U.N. Global Climate Initiatives.

You know, the right people are joining the conversation and really coming up with innovative responses to these huge challenges. We've mentioned a couple of times the impact of coalitions. And I think that that's another area where there is a lot of hope and opportunity is working together-- like this aquarium conservation partnership that I have mentioned, where we're able to collectively make commitments, such as reducing single use plastics or becoming net zero for greenhouse gas emissions, where we're able to really change the entire demand structure that exists for a lot of these products or services.

And we're changing that on a larger scale than we would be able to do on our own, by working together. I also think that there are so many initiatives-- we've mentioned the 30 by 30 initiative, America the Beautiful, where the US government is aiming to protect 30% of land and water by 2030. That is incredibly hopeful. We are going to continue to push that at the global scale too, because it's really needed in the oceans in order to protect the resources that we know are critical for the future of our planet.

And then finally, I just you know want to mention, I think that having the different economic sectors working together is really critical. It's really critical for our ocean, for our planet, to make sure that we are taking a systems approach to working together to make the right investments in order to achieve this together.

John R

We talk about the idea of blue economy, and I think that’s where it comes home. If those kinds of economic development opportunities can be launched that are both light on their footprint, on the life support system that is the ocean and at the same time generate opportunity, jobs, etc., economic activity, then I think we’re on the right path.

You heard us say, Nick, that our vision is to inspire, create a global community of hopeful conservationists, united to restore our planet. And the interesting part about restoring our planet is that we’re trying to restore it to a certain level of parameters that are good for the lives of mammals. As Buckminster Fuller, the inventor and futurist, said way back in the fifties or sixties, you know, we are not the experiment on Spaceship Earth.

This planet has been here for, what, 3.5 billion years? There’s at least a couple billion more in it. And let’s hope that we can maintain the kind of narrow parameters that are good for mammals like us to live within for, you know, maybe another million or two years. Wouldn’t that be nice?

And because the planet will go on with us or without us and I, for one, would rather that it goes on with us.

Nick T

Well, John and Jenn, thank you very much for joining me today. It's fantastic to have two Baltimore institutions coming together from different angles on a topic that we both value - -water and oceans. This is really deepened my understanding of the amazing work that you do at the National Aquarium. We really appreciate your time and expertise on the subject of ocean health.

Jenn, you very much for joining me today.

Jenn D

Thank you so much, Nick. And thank you to T. Rowe Price for having this great conversation.

Nick T

And John, it's been a pleasure as well. Thank you very much for your time today.

John R

Thank you, Nick. It's been a great discussion.

Nick T

Complete pessimism isn't right. Whilst total optimism isn't accurate either. We need to pay attention to both the risks of doing nothing and the opportunities for change. A similar tension exists in balancing societal needs with environmental protection. Ultimately, the message I'm taking away is that we're all connected to water and can each play a role in efforts to protect it.

Thank you for listening to The Angle. We've enjoyed your company during our Blue Economy season and hope you'll join us for future seasons of The Angle. You can find more information on the blue economy on our website. Please rate us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is for general information and educational purposes only, and outside the United States is intended for investment professional use only. It does not constitute a distribution offer, invitation, recommendation or solicitation to sell or buy any securities in any jurisdiction or to conduct any particular investment activity. This podcast does not provide investment advice or recommendations, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for an investment decision.

Prospective investors are recommended to seek independent, legal, financial and tax advice before making any investment decision. The views contained herein are those of the speakers as of the date of the recording and are subject to change without notice. These views may differ from those of other T Rowe Price companies and or associates. Information is based upon sources we consider to be reliable.

We do not, however, guarantee accuracy. There is no guarantee any forecasts made will come to pass. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. There is no assurance that any positive environmental or social outcome will be achieved. This podcast is Copyright 2024 by T. Rowe Price.

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February 2024

Discovering the potential of the blue economy through sustainable development

A significant share of the global economy depends on ocean and clean water resources. Yet, sustainability issues are an increasing challenge. Host Nick Trueman and guests discuss this rapidly evolving area of the world economy.

February 2024

How are emerging markets confronting El Niño and climate risks?

The blue economy faces many challenges, as water resources come under pressure from a range of risks. Host Nick Trueman and guests explore the disruption of the El Nino weather pattern and risks to emerging market economies.

February 2024

Can Innovations in finance really support the blue economy?

With rising threats to the world’s water resources, enabling sustainable development is vital.  In this episode, host Nick Trueman and guests discuss the emergence of blue financing to help bridge the funding gap.

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