Everything starts with inspiration.
Each Parley Talks session is a curated gathering with a dedicated topic, presented by Parley Speakers to a carefully selected audience. The talks are meant to give an overview of the State of the Oceans, present a specific cause and garner support for a related initiative or project to affect change.
UN X PARLEY – OCEANS. CLIMATE. LIFE.
“We are at war with the oceans. We are destroying the magic blue universe beneath us with the exploitative way we are doing business, before we even really explored it. It’s on us creators, thinkers, leaders to own this problem. And to solve it. Parley for the Oceans is designed as a collaboration space for exactly this process."
2015 was a crucial year for international climate negotiations. To keep the focus on the oceans, our planet's most important climate regulator, in the run-up to COP21, a Parley Talks session and launch event under the title “Oceans. Climate. Life.” was held at the United Nations in New York, on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting on Climate Change convened by the President of the General Assembly.
UN x Parley speakers included: Fabien Cousteau, Cyrill Gutsch, Captain Paul Watson, Louie Psihoyos, Sylvia Earle, David de Rothschild, Iain Kerr, Ora Ito, Chris Jordan, Eric Liedtke, John Warner, Captain Siddarth Chakravarty, Tim Coombs and Dianna Cohen.
SYLVIA EARLE – IN THE SPAN OF A LIFETIME
“We must treat the natural world differently, with respect, literally as if our lives depend on it. Because they do."
Speaking at Parley Wall Street, "Her Deepness" Dr. Sylvia Earle urges us to consider the impacts of ocean plastic pollution, overfishing, acidification and human-driven changes she has witnessed in the span of just 50 years. She reminds us there is a cost not only to what we put into the oceans, but also to what we take out of them — the things we remove from our own life support system.
Dr. Sylvia Earle is a celebrated marine biologist, explorer, author, lecturer and founder of Mission Blue, a global ocean conservation initiative formed in response to her 2009 TED Prize wish. Sylvia was the first female chief scientist of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the first female to walk the seafloor at a depth of 1,250 feet, a feat she famously completed in 1979 wearing an untethered, pressurized JIM suit.
Sylvia A. Earle, Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications, Sylvia has lead countless expeditions and logged 7,000+ underwater hours. Her research focuses on conservation of marine ecosystems.
LOUIE PSIHOYOS – RACING EXTINCTION
“When you’re talking about losing all of nature, it’s not a spectator sport anymore. Everybody has to become active somehow.”
Scientists have confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that we've entered the sixth mass extinction event. They’ve also confirmed we humans are largely to blame. We will be our own asteroid if we continue on the present course of destruction. To our credit, our species has the tools, knowledge and volition to turn this thing around. But first, we need a wake-up call — or a motivating “weapon of mass construction.” Louie Psihoyos uses covert operations and cameras to provide exactly that in his latest film "Racing Extinction."
It may be difficult to confront the realities of mass species die-offs, but it's impossible to ignore the truth once it's illuminated on a screen or projected onto the world's most iconic buildings. Parley is collaborating with Louie and Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) to help take this message further and demonstrate to the world the collective impact of our individual actions.
Louie Psihoyos is Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and Director of the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove. He has been widely regarded as one of the top photographers in the world. He was hired directly out of college to shoot for National Geographic and created images for the magazine for 18 years.
CHRIS JORDAN – MIDWAY: MESSAGE FROM THE GYRE
“I think it takes the most courage of all to feel grief, to grieve what is being lost.”
Nine out of ten seabirds have ingested plastic. By 2050, virtually all seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs. We protect what we love, yet we are failing to protect the earth. Acclaimed photographic artist, filmmaker, and cultural activist Chris Jordan believes this is because we have lost touch with what we love. In his Parley Talk, he builds a powerful case against the most dangerous human tendency: apathy.
To document the consequences of our disconnect from nature, Chris turns his lens on the plight of the albatross at Midway Atoll, more than 1,300 miles from the nearest store yet directly impacted by swirling accumulations of plastic debris at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Gyre. Chris's images of Midway confront the true toll of plastic addiction in today's culture of mass consumption and convenience, inviting the audience to do the same — to consider what we stand to lose, indeed what we're already losing, should we continue to turn away from our emotions.
Chris is an acclaimed photographic artist and cultural activist based in Seattle. His work explores contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives, connecting the viewer viscerally to the enormity and power of humanity’s collective unconscious. His images have been exhibited around the world.
LELAND MELVIN – OUR BLUE PLANET
“I think about how we can take this message further, through the arts, education, engineering — all these things are so important. We can change our world in a positive way.”
Orbiting the Earth in under two hours, you see a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes. NASA astronaut Leland Melvin has seen the oceans from a vantage point few will experience first-hand: outer space. In his Parley Talk, Leland explains that "you almost need new definitions for blue" when viewing the oceans from hundreds of miles above the surface.
Through a series of images taken from the International Space Station, Leland highlights the beauty and fragility of our oceans and man's influence on this finite planet. With a focus on the arts, engineering and education, he offers a message of optimism and hope for our future.
Engineer, NASA astronaut, and former NFL player. After his NFL career was cut short by a Hamstring injury, he earned a MS in Materials Science Engineering from UVA. He is currently Associate Administrator of Education at NASA, and is a strong proponent of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Math) movement.
MARCO SPIER – INSPIRE CHANGE THROUGH SCIENCE FICTION
"Inspiration is the spark that ignites technology. Science fiction can change the world."
Marco Spier blends science fiction, advertising and design to bring alternate realities to life. The founder of Psyop reaches millions of people around the world through the power of visual storytelling — a skill he's now bringing to the ocean cause. In his Parley Talk, Marco discusses the power of using the tools and talents we already possess to create awareness and catalyze solutions for the oceans.
Founder of Psyop, an award-winning creative design and animation studio that works with global brands. His work is featured in the National Design Triennial of Cooper Hewitt and is part of the permanent collection at MoMA. Prior to founding Psyop, Marco was one of the original members of MTV’s Digital Television Laboratory (DTV).
IAIN KERR – CLIMATE CHANGE'S EVIL TWIN
“We are a visual species. If we see something, we respond to it. And the problem with ocean pollution is there is no smoking gun. ”
Iain Kerr, CEO of Ocean Alliance, has spent the last couple decades using unobtrusive methods to better understand what’s out there, and what it means to the animals. At Parley Wall Street, he shares key findings from the Voyage of the Odyssey, a 5 ½-year journey of 87,000 nautical miles spent collecting the first-ever global data set on toxic contaminants by studying the sperm whale.
Dr. Iain Kerr first met Roger Payne at his whale camp in the 1980's and has worked with him ever since. As the CEO of Ocean Alliance, Iain has led research expeditions all over the globe. Under Roger and Iain’s stewardship, Ocean Alliance has been a critical group in the worldwide effort to research and protect whales and sea life for the benefit of the oceans, as well as human health.
Dr. Iain Kerr is the CEO of the Ocean Alliance, an organization recognized as an international leader in whale research and ocean conservation since its founding by renowned scientist Dr. Roger Payne in 1970. Ocean Alliance programs include the Voyage’s of the Odyssey and the Patagonia Right Whale Program.
CHRISTOPHER CLARK – THE SINGING OCEAN
“A blue whale can’t even see its tail most of the time, but it can communicate with another blue whale a thousand miles away.”
The oceans are alive with song. Engineer-turned-whale scientist Christopher Clark is one of the sea's best listeners. In his Parley Talk, Clark explores the science of bioacoustics and the devastating ways human-induced noise pollution is silencing the sea.
Dr. Christopher Clark is director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University and a former student of Roger Payne. Specializing in noise pollution in the oceans, he oversees and directs a vigorous, multi-disciplinary program with the goal of giving the world’s creatures a voice on critical conservation issues.
Engineer and biologist, Imogene Johnson Senior Scientist in the Bioacoustics Research Program of Ornithology and in the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Cornell University. His research has concentrated on animal vocal communication with a particular interest in the application of advanced acoustic technologies for scientific conservation of endangered species, from birds to whales.
MIRANDA WANG – PLASTIC-EATING BACTERIA
"Choosing to ignore the problem is the same as choosing to endorse it."
The world’s ocean ecosystems are on the brink of a complete collapse as a result of plastic pollution and other irresponsible human activities. Miranda Wang first witnessed the reality of our plastic waste problem on a field trip to a local landfill during her junior year of high school. Her initial disgust ultimately inspired an ambitious idea for solutions. As a student of synthetic biology, Miranda discovered and has been engineering bacteria that could biodegrade plastics, and in turn help counter the threat of plastic pollution in the oceans.
TED speaker and student in Biochemistry and Entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania. Alarmed by the plastic pollution crisis, she has worked on isolating and characterizing plastic-degrading bacteria from the natural environment. She continues to engage in developing new methods of bioremediation through synthetic biology.