On 25 August 2015 in Beijing, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco inaugurated an exhibition presented by his Foundation as well as facilitating a TEDxBeijing special event. Staged in Salone Monaco, a new event space in the dynamic Parkview Green FangDaoCi, both events celebrated and explored the world’s single largest ecosystem — the ocean.
Covering over 71% of our planet, the oceans produce 50% of the Earth’s oxygen and provide sustenance for millions of people. Yet only 3% of the oceans are protected, meaning that one of mankind’s most important resources is exposed to the dangers of overfishing, pollution and acidification.
‘Oceans: An Invitation to the Dream, A Promise of Adventure’ is a tribute to the oceans. The exhibition was inspired by Jacques Perrin’s award-winning film ‘Oceans’, which is currently being shown in Salone Monaco’s auditorium. “The oceans are more than ever before at the heart of our common future. Although they are subject to substantial threats, they also offer infinite solutions and unparalleled opportunities, whether of an ecological or economic nature, energy or food related” said HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco during his TED speech.

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation addresses the alarming environmental situation that Planet Earth currently faces. While supporting initiatives and establishing strategic partners, The Prince Albert II Foundation has three primary areas in which it currently fights climate change: The Mediterranean basin, The Polar Regions & The Least Developed Countries (a United Nations ratified list of countries fighting poverty).

The way in which this translates into direct action, other than phenomenal exhibitions as the one being outlined, include three specific domains. The first is an investment in renewable energies subsequently limiting the effects of climate change. The second focuses on safeguarding loss of biodiversity. The third is a dynamic combination of informing the public while also funding programs combating desertification while managing water resources.

The biggest mitigating factor effecting all of the Foundation’s specified missions, Earth’s oceans.

Alongside HSH Prince Albert II, three esteemed international panelists journeyed to China’s capital to assist in this call-to-action. Director of WildAid China, Ms. May Mei gave a spirited and emotional TED talk discussing habitat and biodiversity loss due to industry and humans encroaching on precious coral reefs. Dr. Enrique Sala, a celebrated Oceanographer and the leading voice in ocean conservation, presented a rousing and dynamic speech encouraging for the further development of ‘Pristine Seas’, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as outlined in the Kyoto Protocol by the United Nations. Thirdly, Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public & Environmental affairs (IPE) introduced how groundbreaking technology in China utilizing digital and mobile innovations is galvanizing the 1 billion strong population to take action by being aware of what toxins and pollutants are being emitted from industry and poured into rivers, streams and the ocean across the expansive country.

For all in attendance, the takeaways were many, only outnumbered by the smiles. While ocean conservation may seem broad, daunting and intimidating, many attendees left feeling empowered, knowledgable and better equipped as to what they can do both at home and in their community to lend a hand and be an essential part of the conversation.

 

Salone Monaco cemented itself as one of the premiere locations featuring international icons coming together to discuss solutions to some of the most pressing issues we face on this planet. This was the first of many such gatherings. In the future, Salone Monaco, with the help of The Prince Albert II Foundation, along with Parkview Arts Action, intends to broaden it’s portfolio of programming to cast a wider net in terms of creating a platform that educates, communicates and creates community. Through these experiential workshops and exhibits, world leaders from around the globe can come together to create solutions to what seems like sometimes impossible problems.

A diverse yet nonetheless fantastic group of Americans which included the father of live-action shark conservation photography and darling of Hollywood blockbusters, Michael Muller, World Bank environment policy specialist, Dr. Timothy Adams Bouley, the legendary Hollywood writer/director, Pen Densham, were able to assist artist Thomas Schoos at the exhibit at Salone Monaco. Mr. Thomas Schoos was already in Beijing where he was exhibiting in the global art exhibit ‘On Sharks + Humanity’, currently showing at The National Museum of China.

In many ways, this diverse crew of individuals represents a cornucopia of views, opinions and schools of thought concerning issues pertaining to conservation and sustainability prevalent in the United States today. Through an integrated approach utilizing intersecting sectors of industry, Mr. Muller, Mr. Thomas Schoos, Dr. Bouley & Mr. Pen Densham enjoyed taking part in this workshop, truly making this a global conversation. The exhibition also included two collaboration pieces by Thomas Schoos & Michael Muller, which added to the heft of gravitas already on display.

HSH Prince Albert II Foundation’s exhibit OCEANS was a truly remarkable experience for everyone invited. As this is a global issue and will take a global community to confront it, real change starts with a single conversation. Through the landmark research and funding along with the incredible inspiration, this experiential exhibit served as a game-changer leading up to the United Nations General Assembly taking place in late September. It is at this UN Conference, that the future of global climate change action will be dictated. Whether or not leaders from around the globe adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains to be seen. What we do know is that regardless of politics, these incredible leaders, from around the globe showed initiative and incredible insight in stepping up to the plate to confront an issue many would like to ignore. It is through the frame of reference of doctors, conservationists, artists, entrepreneurs and many more, that we start to see the impact we can all have in making a difference in this lovely, beautiful world.