Business speaker, extreme adventurer and passionate conservationist Lewis Pugh continues to fight to get environmental issues heard by embarking on his latest adventure to swim long distances across the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Seas.
Writing for The New York Times this week, Lewis said that the ‘swims were intended to draw attention to the health of the oceans’. As the United Nations Patron of the Oceans, Lewis knew and had given speeches on the importance of protecting our oceans but had, by his own admission, seriously underestimated the current health of the marine environment. Lewis added ‘I saw no sharks, no whales, no dolphins. I saw no fish longer than 11 inches. The larger ones had all been fished out. When I swam in the Aegean, the sea floor was covered with litter; I saw tires and plastic bags, bottles, cans, shoes and clothing'.
Lewis argues that the reasons behind this are connected to our demand for fuel, food and freshwater and this is only going to get worse as developing countries demand more from our already over-fished oceans.
He suggests the answer may lie in more marine protected areas similar to national parks that are protected in law. This would allow species and habitats to recover. Last week Barack Obama used his presidential powers to create the world’s largest marine reserve in the Pacific, banning fishing and other commercial activities across vast swaths of sea populated by whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Most will agree that this is a great move by America’s president but more is yet to be done until, as Lewis concludes, instead of tyres and trash he hopes he will in future be able to ‘swim over thriving coral reefs'.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016