In this video message, NOS Assistant Administrator Nicole LeBoeuf celebrates World Ocean Day and National Ocean Month, notes NOAA's participation in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and Capitol Hill Ocean Week, and discusses how NOS is contributing to diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice. (Video Transcript)
Greetings everyone, and Happy World Ocean Day! I’m Nicole LeBoeuf, and as the Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, or NOS, I am honored to celebrate our ocean with you.
To kick things off, in keeping with one of our nation’s modern traditions, President Biden recently signed a proclamation to name June, 2021 National Ocean Month. At the National Ocean Service, our work for the nation includes service of our ocean, our coasts, the Great Lakes and the communities that depend on them.
As ever, we at NOS are committed to collaborating with our colleagues in and outside of the federal government to engage in responsible ocean stewardship. And to strengthen and expand economic opportunities related to the ocean and commerce, we are taking important steps to safeguard our ocean so that it is protected and preserved for generations to come.
I am pleased to share with you just a few recent examples:
On June 1st, NOAA representatives attended the opening ceremony of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Ocean Decade was founded to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health, and to bring together ocean experts and stakeholders across the world to create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean. NOS made significant contributions to a suite of NOAA proposals and to the overall design of this initiative, and we look forward to exporting U.S. ocean leadership abroad as these efforts continue for the decade to come. And, starting today and through June 10, NOAA is participating in Capitol Hill Ocean Week, the premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference in the United States. This year’s theme is “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Sustaining Our Ocean and Great Lakes.” This is something that NOS, and that I am personally, 100% devoted to.
When it comes to the ways that NOS is contributing to diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice:
We continue to expand the scope of grant requests to include diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations. We are working to create more education and fellowship opportunities for minorities and at Minority Serving Institutions. We are administering a mini-grant program to engage underrepresented communities and students in marine conservation and stewardship. And I am personally serving on the White House’s newly formed Environmental Justice Interagency Committee representing all of NOAA and the Department of Commerce in this government-wide effort. We are proud of these ongoing initiatives, are committed to expanding them, and to creating new initiatives that address environmental justice in the future.
Speaking of pride, I am super proud to be serving as the executive sponsor for the NOAA Pride Employee Resource Group. And, throughout the month, NOS’s National Marine Sanctuary System will be celebrating Ocean Month and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month through our PrideInTheOcean social media campaign. Our goal is to raise the visibility of LGBTQ+ ocean scientists, athletes, appreciators, and more. Our ocean is for everyone, no matter who you are or who you love. You can tell us more about how you take pride in this blue planet. Visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov to participate.
And last, but not least, we’re spearheading the ninth year of our #30DaysofOcean National Ocean Month social media campaign. We have been and will continue to share videos, imagery, and facts about our ocean and coasts throughout the month of June on our NOS social media platforms, with each week focusing on a special theme. Follow the hashtag #30DaysofOcean on NOS Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
I’d like to conclude by sharing a personal note. Like perhaps many of you, I can’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t want to be around, more deeply understand, and protect the ocean. To work for the National Ocean Service and to be here today, celebrating Ocean Month with you, is a dream come true. Every day, across NOS we provide science-based solutions through collaborative partnerships to address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our ocean and coasts. Thank you for all that you do for our nation and for our ocean. I am honored to work with you and for you — and to address you on this very special day. Thank you.