“Voices for the Future of our Oceans” video conference in run up to the 8th IAC
Last night, a group of passionate young students from various parts of the world participated in the “Voices for the Future of the Oceans” video conference hosted by the Two Oceans Aquarium as part of the 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC), which opens on Monday 10 September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The students gathered at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, the Institut Océanographique (Monaco), Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, USA) and Nausicaá, Centre National de la Mer (France) to engage in discussions about the marine environment.
During the video conference, kindly sponsored by Kathea, Comtel, Vox Telecom and Pick n Pay, students from the different regions informed their peers about the shorelines and ecosystems surrounding each of the aquariums and later presented the environmental problems specific to these ecosystems.
Discussions then ensued on the topics of whether endangered animals should be displayed in aquariums, whether aquariums are boring for young people who have the advantage of smart technology and how aquariums can best communicate to the youth and engage/inspire them to take ownership of the aquariums in their areas.
The youth all agreed that keeping endangered animals in aquariums is important as their stories may lead to people wanting to protect them. The Cape Town students believe that endangered animals are ambassadors for their species. The students unanimously agreed that aquariums are not redundant in the age of technology. According to the students at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “We cannot let technology take over as human interaction is more important.”
Cape Town’s Nina Lawrenson will present a synopsis of their discussions and the ensuing resolutions to the 8th IAC delegates at the CTICC on Monday 10 September 2012.
The video conference is one of two youth events which has been organised by the Aquarium as part of the 8th IAC, which takes place from 10 to 13 September 2012 at the CTICC. The first event, a youth symposium, was held on 19 August at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Fourteen students gave presentations and engaged in debate around the role of aquariums and how these facilities can best involve the youth.
Nikki Cathcart was chosen as Best Speaker and will deliver her presentation “It’s time to start talking” at the 8th IAC on Monday 10 September during the Education plenary session.
In keeping with the theme of the 8th IAC, “The global aquarium community: sharing experiences and collectively inspiring change”, “Voices for the Future of the Oceans” was created to provide the youth, as key members of the aquarium community, with an opportunity to contribute to the discussions at the 8th IAC.
“The video conference was a dream come true for me. It was a powerful and groundbreaking opportunity to involve the youth in the IAC. Not only did it provide an opportunity for young people around the world to share their concerns and ideas regarding the future of the oceans with one another, but it also provided them with a platform to make their voices heard by the leaders of the aquarium community. This has set the tone for the entire congress, with its themes of sustainability and inspiring change,” said Two Oceans Aquarium Head of Education Russell Stevens.
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