AltaSea and the Boys and Girls Clubs Announce Blue Economy Education Program
The annual ILWU/PMA Luncheon raising funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor drew hundreds of supporters celebrating the Clubs as one of the community’s most beloved institutions and major partner of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.
The luncheon featured speeches from two San Pedro natives, sports radio and TV personality Petros Papadakis and AltaSea CEO, Tim McOsker. Tim is an alumnus of the San Pedro Club and took this opportunity to announce the Blue Economy education program AltaSea is offering over this summer to 50 children attending the Wilmington Boys and Girls Club. This series of workshops introduces sustainable aquaculture farming and underwater robotics illustrating to the students potential ocean-based careers in the Port community.
Together, AltaSea and BGCLAH are working to help build the future of San Pedro and the entire harbor community. Here’s an excerpt from Tim McOsker’s speech:
“The future of our community has no greater presence than in our children. That’s why the Boys and Girls Clubs are so vitally important. We live in a harbor area with nearly 40,000 kids. In 2015, more than a third of those children lived below the poverty line. The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Harbor serve over 7,000 kids annually – that is one-fifth of all our children – at 13 different sites. The Clubs serve well over 1,000 snacks and meals a day, offer programs in athletics, the arts, leadership development, STEM education, and College Bound.
There are dramatic successes in every one of these programs, but I want to call out College Bound. Thousands of kids have completed the program, which is amazing in itself. But even more remarkable: College Bound has a 99-percent success rate of seeing kids graduate from high school – and a 96-percent rate of participants enrolling in two- or four-year schools. That is great stewardship of our shared future.
Our kids, and our future, also deserve a healthy environment and economy in which to live. There is no doubt that the economy and health of the Harbor Area is dependent on the ocean. Our multi-billion-dollar cargo-shipping industry, which provides us with good-paying jobs and an effective way to ship goods across the world, utilizes the ocean every day. And, this community appreciates that the Port, the tenants, the PMA and the ILWU have done so much to protect the environment while maintaining a strong economic engine. But the ocean is so much more than a set of valuable shipping lanes.
I recently met with Terry Taminnen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Terry is a brilliant environmentalist who told me that I need to stop talking about saving the earth. He said that if environmental damage, ocean warming, plastics pollution, and other harms continue at the same pace, it is human life, not the planet, that will expire. The earth, eventually, will be just fine without us. It has before, it will again. Environmental protection is about saving us and our kids, not the planet.
And our future on this planet has no greater urgency than in the ocean. In 2018, we are fairly aware of the importance of protecting the lands we inhabit, but we remain dangerously unaware of how important are the oceans. Seventy percent of this planet is covered by ocean and 94 percent of all life forms on Earth are aquatic. Yet, we have documented space and other planets in more detail than we have mapped the ocean floor. It is estimated that only about 5 percent of the world’s oceans have been explored.
Marine biologists tell us that only two-thirds of marine life has been documented and studied. There are millions more species that remain to be discovered. Half the oxygen that we breathe is produced by seaweed and phytoplankton that resides in the ocean. And yet, we allow the oceans to warm, plastics and contamination to flow in, and species that we have never experienced alive to go extinct.
The Earth is the only known planet to have surface oceans. It is no coincidence that the Earth is also the only known planet with life. Our Oceans are the source and sustenance of life.
Just as the Clubs are important to our kids, AltaSea is important to our oceans. But I should answer a pretty fair question: What is AltaSea?
On paper, AltaSea is a 35-acre ocean innovation campus, located at City Dock 1, to be developed with a 180,000-sq.-ft. business center, a 60,000-sq.-ft. university research facility, with comprehensive public education and engagement. The whole of the campus will create Blue Economy jobs, spur economic activity, and inspire generations of students and ocean conservationists.
AltaSea is a great example of a government organization, the Port of L.A., encouraging the re-use of property that is no longer suitable for the modern shipping industry.
AltaSea will act as a hub to attract businesses in cutting-edge technologies aiming to harness the power and resources of the ocean to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, such as food security, sustainable energy, and global warming.
One way AltaSea differs from other ocean enterprises is that the campus will be its own self-sustaining ecosystem of business, research, education and community. Business will fuel science; science will stimulate business; and the whole will serve to educate and employ our youth.
The businesses already onsite at AltaSea – including Boeing, Blue Robotics, and Catalina Sea Ranch – will require qualified people to advance their missions in the Blue Economy. These companies need students trained at the colleges and universities from AltaSea’s research facility. The business center will be home to incubators and start-ups and all kinds of companies that need a technical and vocational workforce equipped to handle an untold number of jobs in this new, ocean-related economy.
For our focus here today, the most important piece to this puzzle is how to get kids interested in Blue Tech and the ocean, so that they will be the ones to fill the jobs and research labs created at AltaSea. Our solution is for AltaSea to be program rich, and to partner with LAUSD, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and other organizations that serve children. We’ll bring students to the site, have the businesses provide internships and demonstrations, and the scientists and engineers give lectures and open houses right on the vessels, wharves and in the warehouses.
This collaboration is already underway! We are excited to announce, starting today, that we are kicking off a six-week Blue Economy educational program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs. The program will run four hours per day, for 50 members of the club.
Club kids will take part in sustainable aquaculture and underwater robotic workshops. The curriculum has been written by two of our partners, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Blue Robotics. The funding for that curriculum has been generously provided by Wells Fargo. The intermediate-school-age children will learn the importance of raising alternative sources of protein farmed in the ocean and how it can be done sustainably for the world’s ever-growing population. They will also each have the chance to build an underwater robot while learning the vast uses of robots in the burgeoning Blue Economy.
With this program, and the many to follow, we want every child to inspired to become an ocean innovator, scientist, educator, entrepreneur or conservationist. And for the cycle to continue and on, and on, and on, for generations to come.
And we at AltaSea are working hard to make this dream a reality. We are planning, marketing, researching, negotiating and fundraising every day to renovate, rehabilitate and activate the site.
As special motivation, we share office space with Mike and the Clubs, just to remind us every day of how our missions align, and of how important this work is for the future of our children, our community, and our planet. Children no matter whose they are, no matter their race, religion or status deserve a chance at a healthy productive life.
You all came here to support the kids of our community. I admire you for that. You listened to me for a few minutes. I appreciate you for that.
AltaSea is a proud partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs and we look forward to all our joint efforts to make this community a safe, healthy, prosperous place to grow up in and to call home.
Thank you to the Boys and Girls Clubs for inviting me. Thank you to the ILWU and PMA for your continued support of the Clubs, and for providing so many in this community with good, meaningful work.
Finally, on behalf of the entire AltaSea team, we are grateful for the constant support and interest from the harbor community in what we are doing, together, at City Dock 1. While we get to work on it, AltaSea belongs to all of us, and we won’t let you down. Thank you.
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