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MAD About the "Dried Ocean"

Join us on the upcoming long weekend in Hong Kong, on Saturday and Sunday, April 3rd and 4th, to celebrate the ocean at our special Ocean Breakfast event at Babacio's great outdoor deck on Wyndham Street.  From 9:00 - 11:30am each day, you can get your day started with friends and family, and give a bit back to the ocean you love along the way.  20% of all proceeds will go to the work that Ocean Recovery Alliance and the Hong Kong Shark Foundation are doing to improve the health of the ocean.  Feel free to spread the word.  Children are welcome, and there will  be no speeches.  Click here for more information. 

Are you MAD About the Ocean? Michael, Andrea and Doug are.....    They each love it, and therefore, they are trying to fix some of its problems they're mad about. The ocean provides over 50% of the world’s oxygen, regulates the weather, and provides food for billions…..among others, and it needs help.

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Doug, Andrea and Michael have each been creating momentum through their actions, and believe that many of the ocean’s ills can be solved if more groups become engaged and involved in this type of actionism. It’s not about complaining, but about “doing”……empowering, motivating, and inspiring…….and they are getting results! .. They are OCEANIZED!

You can get Oceanized, and also have Michael, Andrea and Doug speak at your conference, webinars or events, as they have teamed up to create the MAD About the Ocean program to help inspire and empower others. Let us know if your company, university or school is interested to get more involved in ocean protection, which can be done whether you live near the ocean or not!

You can get involved by organizing a project, supporting a group in your community, becoming a Shark-free company or event, or simply donating to our continuing work to bring more of our respective communities into the discussion about the ocean, and how it's health actually drives all our livelihoods, directly or indirectly (and simply breathing is fairly direct!).

Click here if you would like to see the short MAD About the Ocean Trailer, and to share with your community. 

Part of our story also includes a discussion about the "Dried Ocean."   What is that you might ask?  With 2/3 of the planet covered in water, and "wet," how can it be dry?  Well, it's dry like a desert, becasue we have removed over 80% of the large fish, polluted, ruined coral and coastlines, and have left it hard for the ocean to be resilient, and to restore itself to its former glory, filled with species and strong ecosystems.   The good thing is that it can still recover, if we give it a Strong fighting chance - but we have to be the ones to let that happen.   Included here is an article of ours about the Dried Ocean, thanks to Green Is the New Black, along with a PODCAST on the Dried Ocean with Live Wide Awake with Steph Dickson.

Transcript: MAD About the Ocean

Hello everyone, Ran Elfassy here from Shooting it Raw.  We welcome you here today with three people who are, well, “MAD” about the ocean.

We've got Michael, Andrea and Doug, and they're mad.   Now, we're spanning across both sides of the Pacific, with Michael in Los Angeles,  and Doug and Andrea here with me in Hong Kong.  

They're MAD about the ocean, because they love it and they're excited about it, but they're also mad about what has been done to the ocean over the past decades with many of the world not really being aware of how much we've been ruining this lifeline we have to our communities and to our environment.

You might think that's not possible, particularly if you live inland, thousands of kilometers away from the ocean.  Why is it important?  Actually the ocean provides 50% of the world's oxygen, it regulates the weather, and provides food for billions. 

It's not about just being negative, but it's about doing something about being empowered and motivated.  To get out there and to inspire others.  And these three are actually getting results. 

In a word, they're Oceanized!  

The first person we're going to have on is Doug Woodring, Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, and he's been working on ocean protection, particularly plastic pollution for over a decade. 

We also have Andrea Richey, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Shark Foundation.  This is a Hong Kong-based charity that raises awareness

about shark conservation and educates people to stop eating shark fin soup. 

And we also have Michael Klubock, from Los Angeles, the Executive Director of the Malibu Foundation and Kids Ocean Day. 

So the first person I think we should hear from is Doug Woodring. 

Hi Ran - So I'm Mad about the ocean because I love it.  I grew up in California, competing in sports in the ocean and organizing races.  And, when I went to Japan my first job out of university to work for one of the largest fishing companies in the world, trading seafood.  What I learned, was that the amount of extraction of seafood from all different corners of the ocean in order to feed the consumers of our cities, all of whom want choices, who want health, who want a trend, was completely unsustainable.  Most of us, however, don’t really realize what's happening.  We've created a term recently called “The Dried Ocean.” 

Why is it a Dried Ocean, as the ocean is wet?  It's a wet place, but it's becoming a Desert.   Over 80 percent of the largest fish in the world are now gone. There's now 35 billion dollars of subsidies around the world feeding the fishing fleets, with fuel, bigger boats, more technology, and they're looking for less fish smaller fish,fish in deeper waters, farther away and the fish don't even have time to rejuvenate because they're caught at too early of an age. 

So fast forward…..and our work in Hong Kong, with one of the programs we created was a sustainable seafood event called the Kin Hong Seafood Festival.  Kin Hong means healthy in Chinese, and the reason we didn't use the word “sustainable” is because sustainable means “level,” and keeping going at that same amount.  But actually we need a decrease.  We need to give the ocean time to save itself and come back.  

So in the first year we had 30 restaurants for a month promoting their sustainable seafood, and a year and a half later, when we did the second event, we already had

over a hundred participants from four countries and even two airlines.  This is mainly due to press, social media, word of mouth, and customers. 

Customers asking “is your seafood sustainable” to restauranteurs, and if the chef or the waiter waitress doesn't know if it's sustainable, at least now they know people are thinking about it, and watching, and that's where we can all make a difference because we've crystallized the thinking that there's something out there that we need to be concerned about, and slow down.   So that's why I'm mad, but you know, the action that we took I think has had a great impact.  

Ran:  I think the work that you do is so inspiring because it's so actionable, and it really gets results. 

So what makes you Mad Andrea?  Well I'm mad about what's happening to the ocean, and in particular, what's happening to Apex predators like sharks.

Sharks are being overfished to the point where now, one third of the shark species are near extinction.  Over 100 million sharks are killed every year. 

That's almost 300,000 a day and 50% of the global shark fin trade is imported through Hong Kong.  This makes Hong Kong the shark fin trading capital of the world.  

I think it's important to point out here that this is a global shark crisis.  We are talking about this is not just specific to Hong Kong, or China, or Asia. 


This second photo is another example of what makes me mad.  Seemingly unquenchable appetite for the luxury good known as shark fin soup.  A practice that adds to the Dried Ocean phenomenon, and one that is clearly not sustainable.  

Sharks are in a dangerous decline.  Did you know that even though there are over 500 species of sharks, sadly only 10 are protected by law.  The bottom line is that  together, we have a rare opportunity to make a significant impact and save sharks on a global scale, and together we can make a difference. 

Thanks Andrea.  And we also have Michael Klubock from Los Angeles, the Executive Director of the Malibu Foundation and Kids Ocean Day. 

So what makes you Mad?   Hi, well you know, I'm a guy who loves the beaches and ocean, and I was brought up in New England and surrounded by water and water activities.  I came to Los Angeles, and I sailed my Hobie cat off the beaches in Malibu.  My mad moment came in the late ‘80s, when I saw trash on the beach, and in the ocean, and I wanted to shout out about it.  I wanted to do something about it, so i started beach cleanups and realized I couldn't do this all by myself.  I thought I could get some kids to help…… you know, my “big idea.” I created a school program that shows the kids all the happy animals, you know leaping in the ocean, and then show them the tangled ones in the trash.  You can see in this slide, here's a whale that's entangled in the fishing nets.  As a matter of fact, it was so dangerous, the photographer almost lost their life on this picture, getting caught up in the nets.  

So I spoke, and I shared for close to 30 years about my love being damaged, and the program has expanded to other cities in California and Hong Kong, with

over 700,000 kids being reached.  So with Kids Ocean Day this is what we're up to.  We're up to empowering kids to save the earth by connecting them to the beaches and ocean.  

Thanks Michael, that's fantastic.  Picking up on that issue of sustainability, Andrea you've focused on one group.  So why do you talk about sharks in particular?

Well, we at Hong Kong Shark Foundation, believe that planting the seeds of change in our youth is the key to avoiding the Dried Ocean disaster, and thus why we created the Shark Ambassador Education Program.  This creates leaders who seek solutions and create real change.  By 2019 I had spoken to almost 11,000 students in over 45 schools, teaching kids about ocean and shark conservation.  And, why we must say no to shark fin soup to save sharks.  

In this next photo, you will see a couple getting married. Today companies and individuals can raise awareness about shark conservation by having socially responsible events.  Having a shark free event allows people to give back, and take action at a grassroots level to make a difference.  

Thank you Andrea.  Your work is amazing.  

I know Michael has been doing great work with the people out in his neck of the woods, or on his side of the pond.  So Michael, how have you been connecting with kids on your side?   

You know, the first year the first year Iwent to schools I organized a beach cleanup, and I found that the demand was so great, that almost 3,000 kids came out.  Many of the kids had never been to the beach before, and we've been at it for close to 30 years.  One year we actually got close to 6,000 kids on one beach on one day.  That was over 100 busloads of kids.  It was a wild, wonderful day.  The kids do a cleanup, they have lunch, and then they gather together to form massive images on the beach with their bodies.  Sometimes a whale, here in this slide is a shark in Hong Kong.  We did this in Hong Kong, and it's a shark with his fin missing, or cut off, and the kids are sending giant messages to the world about the ocean.  Media around the world has shown these pictures, and many thousands of kids have participated.  This work is not possible without many people joining hands together.    

Kids Ocean Day is about that first wow moment of pure joy when a kid who has never been to the beach before, steps off the bus, falls in love, and thinks they can save the earth.  You really can't put a value on that.  It’s priceless….  

Yes it is priceless.  I mean, how do you put value on something that's almost so ephemeral?  

Doug, what do you have to say about that?   

Well, we like doing big events as well, and we have started the Water Rising and Water Falling Festivals in Cambodia three years ago.  I got mad about the plastic there, because it was in the trees, literally almost like Christmas ornaments, because the Tonle Sap Lake rises and falls six meters (20ft), every year.  Each six month cycle, the water either pulls the plastic out of the villages, or pushes it back in, and what was amazing is that we got the monks involved right at the very beginning.  After one of our first meetings, within an hour, a monk joined us in his orange robe up on the riverbank with a big bamboo pole picking some of the

plastic out of the trees.  The fishermen driving by would even stop and say what is going on, why is this happening?    

And so this curiosity we built into a festival.  We didn't call it a cleanup, we call it a festival, so there's education, there's awareness about the water, and being proud of your outdoors.  Now we're working with fishermen, the village chiefs, the monks, and now 30 villages.  The image that we have here is of fishermen who had put up a net, via our Global Alert program, and the monk is so happy to see this.  Now the monk can tell the people in his area do not litter in that water, because

once we've cleaned that out, now he's built trust, and the community is trusting that the NGO and the government are working together to keep that water clean and they don't want to be the next one to throw a garbage bag in the water.  So the next challenge is what do we do with this?  

Today they have nowhere to put their waste.  They burn it, or they dump it, and we're trying to bring the level of new technology to the community.  It doesn't have to be super high-tech, but it's something to bring value to this material which is waste.  Of course we want to reduce it, but we can now start to use solutions which we have showcased an event we launched called Plasticity.  This was first held at the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, and we've had it in 13 countries since then.  A year ago we had it in Bangkok with the United Nations Environment with over 450 people.  We’ve now reached over 5,000 different companies, governments, innovators, entrepreneurs and associations, and this is really one of the only business events that focuses only on solutions and innovations for second life plastic so it doesn't become waste.  It gets reincarnated.  That’s what the monks love, and so when we can now bring all of these things together with an event, community education, and a solution.  This creates a “one plus one plus one equals eight” big bang factor that happens, and that's what we're all trying to do here.  

Myself, Andrea and Michael.  We're bringing our team together to share this, and what we wanted to really do today was show that these little seeds of programs have become big and they can become bigger. We can replicate them and make more powerful, so thank you for having us Ran.  

My pleasure!  The next big question is what next?  How can people get Involved?

So we created MAD About the Ocean because we love it, and we're mad about it, but now from two sides of the Pacific, with Michael in Californi, and myself and Andrea here in Hong Kong, we're doing workshops, and webinars, everything within the confines of the “new world,” to help businesses, employees, and students think about how they can take their programs and make them better.  

We want you to become Oceanized!  And we want you to join our team, as together, we can actually really make a big difference.  Thanks for having us, and we look forward to speaking with some of the people who got to see our show today.  

It's hard not to feel totally awed and inspired, and maybe even intimidated by the quality of the work.  But that's not where it's coming from.  The kind of emotion and feeling that that you get just from joining you, and listening to you, at least I can speak for myself.  It’s inspiring and it kind of activates me.  I helps me to want to get out there too.  

So, the next question is of course, are you mad about the ocean?  Do you want to make a difference?  The great part is that your organization, your family …… you can all be part of the solution.  Wow, Doug, well you've got me definitely Oceanized.  You've got me motivated!  

Thank you very much and I'll see you at the next ocean event.

Contact us via Kai at

Thanks also to Ran Elfassy, at Shooting it Raw, for hosting our discussion.

English (auto-generated)

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