AltaSea Advances the UN Sustainable Development Goals

May 22, 2020

With unprecedented speed the COVID-19 crisis has pushed humanity to focus on our future. In a matter of weeks, people everywhere have altered nearly every aspect of their daily lives. Now, as the world slowly begins the long way back to a new normal from the virus’s impacts, we have a unique opportunity to redefine global systems to be environmentally sustainable and economically fair. In addition, climate change still exerts immense pressure on our planet, and threatens all life on earth, unless swift action is taken. Building the “new normal” will necessitate broad changes to many sectors.  Dedication to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 will become more critical than ever. AltaSea is proud to support these goals in our programs and strategic partnerships.

Governments and stakeholders of the twenty-first century must undertake significant changes in policies and investments in order to ensure that the planet remains prosperous, peaceful, and livable. AltaSea’s mission aligns with all seventeen of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, our signature projects directly support the UN’s goals of:

  • quality education;
  • affordable and clean energy;
  • decent work and economic growth;
  • climate action;
  • life on land and below water; and
  • collaborative partnerships.

 

Quality Education:

The UN estimates that more than half of the world’s children do not meet academic proficiency standards. At a time when students across LA and our country have had their education disrupted by school closures, extracurricular science-based education is more essential than ever.  AltaSea’s goal is to inspire students to engage in Ocean STEM education and look to the emerging blue economy for good paying jobs in fields such as marine technology, underwater robotics, and sustainable aquaculture. In the past AltaSea has offered internships, workshops, and in- and after-school programs. Launched in response to the pandemic, AltaSea’s Project Blue digitally connects students with marine experts, encourages students to engage with the marine world, and helps inform the public though creative, educational media. In this way, AltaSea’s Project Blue programming is directly in line with the United Nations’ development goal of ensuring quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Affordable and Clean Energy:

As more of the world gains access to the electrical grid and, in the process, carbon emissions increase, it is vital that we transition toward renewable energy. With state-of-the art facilities, AltaSea’s physical campus will be a net-positive energy producer. This facility design is a small part of AltaSea’s much broader commitment to researching alternative energy solutions. Our Center of Innovation will house three business clusters, one of which will be focused on Ocean Energy, including kinetic wave energy and algal fuel technologies.  As a result of this research and commercialization of viable technologies, nations will be able to design energy systems that are long-lasting and have low carbon impact.

Decent Work and Economic Growth:

The UN made it clear that inclusive and sustainable economic growth will drive social progress and generate other Sustainable Development Goals.   AltaSea understands that a healthy ocean is critical for growing the global economy in a way that benefits all people. Ocean-based industries such as tourism, marine transportation, and shipping currently generate approximately $1.5 trillion in revenue globally, with projected gross income expected to double to $3 trillion by 2023 alone. As ocean-based industry expands in Los Angeles County, over the next five years, marine jobs are expected to employ more than 126,000 Angelinos and generate more than 200 billion dollars for the local economy. In line with the UN’s development milestone of decent work and economic growth, AltaSea plays a key role in “promoting ocean excellence” in our efforts to facilitate job generation in high-growth, well-paid industries. By collaborating with local leaders and government agencies such as the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, AltaSea is strengthening investment in blue jobs.

Climate Action:

Climate change is occurring faster than anticipated with effects already being felt worldwide, and is the single largest challenge to global development. In this context, the ocean offers valuable, underutilized opportunities for reducing carbon emissions. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified five promising innovation target sites for combating climate change.  These include: shipping and transport; protection and restoration of coastal ecosystems; seabed carbon storage; renewable energy; and marine food sourcing. Scientists estimate that implementing changes in these areas could account for up to twenty-one percent of the carbon emissions reductions required to meet the UN Paris Climate Accords’ goal of capping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. AltaSea is committed to further researching these five key areas in hopes of helping to develop holistic strategies to understand, use, and conserve the marine environment.

Life on Land and Below Water:

The world’s oceans drive the global systems that make the planet habitable for humankind. Understanding and mitigating the impacts of pollution, acidification, and rising temperatures are essential to promoting sustainability. AltaSea’s mission and its activities serve a sustainable ocean with the understanding that life on land cannot continue without life below water. At present, marine scientists partnering with AltaSea are conducting breakthrough research and discovering important solutions in the fields of aquaculture and blue technology. AltaSea’s Sustainable Aquaculture Cluster exemplifies the co-benefits marine innovation can also provide. In addition to preserving delicate marine ecologies and reducing global carbon emissions, sustainable aquafarms will also help combat global hunger by providing a much needed protein source. Technologies like these make vital marine conservation measures easier and more attractive both to governments and their business counterparts.

Collaborative Partnership:

The UN asserts that transnational and trans-industry collaboration will be essential in order to meet global challenges of human and environmental sustainability. AltaSea’s business model and core values are based on a dedication to public-private partnerships and collaborations as a multi-tenant nonprofit. At this time, we are in partnership with over 25 universities and colleges as well as over 15 businesses and corporations and dozens of educational nonprofits. We invite business leaders, educators, and scientific experts to collaborate in research and programs that harness the power of the ocean to sustain future generations. It is this collaborative model that makes us both unique and successful.

Conclusion:

As a nonprofit dedicated to ocean health and the expansion of the ocean economy, AltaSea seeks to uphold the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development. By joining the best and brightest in exploration, science, business, and education, we deliver hopeful solutions to some of the biggest issues facing the planet today. Our collaborative efforts have helped us lead the world in creating technologies and systems that contribute to the vision for a healthier, more sustainable “new normal.”

Sources

  1. Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation Institute for Applied Economics. The Ocean Economy in Los Angeles: Economic Impact Analysis 2020.
  2. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Eliza Northtrop, and Jane Lubchenco. The ocean is key to achieving climate and societal goals. Science, 2019.
  3. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. 

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