A few days ago I had the opportunity to interview one of the people who are literally doing incredible things for the environment, but, given that he is an expert in marine conservation, his focus is more specifically the oceans.
Maximiliano Bello is Chilean and has been working for 10 years at The Pew Charitable Trusts, an NGO based in Washignton D.C., United States. His position as Principal Officer allows him to help governments become more aware of the importance of caring about the future of the oceans. He previously worked in Chile as a consultant at the Oceana Foundation, the Blue Whale Center and WWF.
With that profile in mind, Max is also the Presidential Commissioner for the COP25 Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Chile in December. What an honor.
My call found him in his hotel room in Miami, since he had lost the interconnection flight from New York, where he participated in United Nations Climate Week with President Sebastián Piñera, the Chilean delegation and delegations and presidents of other countries.
During the New York event, the “Special report on the ocean and the cryosphere in a changing climate” of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was presented.
The report details the troubling effects of climate change on the oceans and ice-covered areas. See statement (.pdf).
Given this, I asked Max why this report is so important.
He told me that Chile and particularly our coastal areas are very vulnerable to climate change. With more than 9000 kilometers of coastline (considering the nearly 4000 territorial islands), any variation in ocean levels would have a tremendous impact on our country.
Max says that while the oceans are clearly important in our biosphere, their protection or study is not officially raised as a topic for this COP25 meeting. Despite this, the Government, through the organization of the event is trying to make this a “Blue COP”, focused precisely on the protection of the oceans.
Within the conversations achieved in New York, he comments that an intense lobby was made and agreements were reached with several governments, raising the priority objective of achieving a Blue COP, focused, among other things, on the oceans. He poses almost as a personal challenge to add more governments to the Blue COP block before December. He will do it and he will achieve it, I am sure.
I tried not to distub him much asking too many questions, given how tired his voice sounded on the other side of the line. Tired but happy, I guess. Before ending the call he tells me that he is in Miami because he’s on his way to the Galapagos Islands, on a scientific mission to mark sharks along with the longest-lived woman diver in the world. That made me envious.
Achieving a Blue COP is a great challenge, but there are people tremendously committed to the environment and the oceans doing an incredible job. Max is one of them.
In the last second I make a request and I ask Max to record a video from Galapagos and send it to us as a greeting to motivate people here in Chile. With a quick “OK” he accepts. I hope we can see that greeting, because it is necessary to motivate, communicate and wake people up, so that the fight for the welfare of the planet has a real chance of success.[Author: Luis Leighton]