NAMEPA, NOAA Call for Maritime Heritage Coalition
The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA), in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) joined together for a call to action live webinar broadcasted by Maritime TV last week which focused on the creation of a Consortium for International Maritime Heritage. The webinar was moderated by Clay Maitland, Founding Chairman of NAMEPA and included informative perspectives from Daniel Basta, Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (a part of NOAA’s National Ocean Service) and Dr. James Delgado, Director of the Maritime Heritage Program at NOAA. The panel also included shipping and organizational expert, Carleen Lyden-Kluss, Co-Founder and Executive Director of NAMEPA.
The live webinar touched upon many crucially important aspects about the importance of building positive identities for the ocean industries through the connections between the maritime industries of the world. Clay Maitland opened the webinar by stating, “The history of ships is the history of mankind,” which, in agreement with the underlying theme, “goes unrecognized by the majority of the world’s population.” Maitland stated, “It has been said that history informs the future. The history of the maritime community leads us into a discussion and understanding of what the maritime community means to the health and safety of the oceans today and what it will mean tomorrow. It’s about core values; it’s about heritage; it’s about identity and most of all, where our young people are concerned, it’s about education.”
The webinar then moved to Daniel Basta form NOAA. Dan currently leads the federal program whose mission is to protect and conserve the unique ecological and cultural marine resources contained in the sanctuary system. In the webinar, Dan posed the questions, “How do we influence 313 million Americans in how they think, how they act to how they behave? What kind of world do they want to have and how do they want to get there?” Dan and the panel answered by discussing how maritime heritage had become an extraordinarily important tool and vehicle to achieve the thought and behavioral changes of the world. Dan continued by pointing out that people want to understand and know about their past and that maritime heritage has the unique quality of capturing people’s imaginations.
The webinar continued to address the main idea that there is a general lack of knowledge, appreciation and understanding of what the maritime industries have brought to the world and how in some sense, it seems to be an afterthought in the minds of many. Dr. Delgado of NOAA stated that, “The concept here is to remind people that the oceans are important in a variety of ways.” He continued by explaining the importance of the human story and its connection to maritime heritage by tracing the history of the oil and gas industry from whaling to modern offshore development.
The goal of the live webinar was then presented in a clear message by Dan Basta in which he proposed to the senior leaders of ocean industries, “We are making a pitch to you guys… We are interested in actually getting on a path that can breathe life into this idea because I think that you guys need it, for the attention to your industry and to what you do and have always done, but for us most importantly, the country needs it, oceans need it, and communities need it. We need to find a way to connect the dots and I don’t think that there is any substitute for that anywhere on the planet than through the ocean industries and the only people who can rise to do that are the people who work in these industries.”
At the close of the webinar, Carleen Lyden-Kluss of NAMEPA reflected on the projected outcome of the webinar and the call to action in a request to senior leadership. She stated, “What we are talking about is developing a working group which would be a combination of the private sector and the public sector and they would come together and really define what the consortium would look like; what the goals and what the strategies of that consortium would be…we need the support and commitment from senior leadership.”
Both NAMEPA and NOAA request that senior leaders of the ocean industries show their commitment by signing up to contribute to the much needed conversation. NAMEPA and NOAA plan to have their first meeting on this topic in the Fall of 2014.
Those interested can sign up for the Consortium for International Maritime Heritage and view the archived webinar by visiting the following link: http://www.maritimetv.com/Events/namepa_noaa2014.aspx.