The Crowd: A sea of support for Oceana

September 15, 2010|By B.W. Cook
  • MAJOR SUPPORT: Host Bruce Cahill with Greg and Barbara McGillivray and Valarie Whiting at third annual SeaChange event on the Orange Coast.
MAJOR SUPPORT: Host Bruce Cahill with Greg and Barbara… (Carla Rhea, unknown )

Ocean conservation should not be a matter of partisan division. Unfortunately, to a greater rather than lesser degree, it is. The Democrats line up on the side of government-sponsored global protectionism, the Republicans favoring Laissez-Faire capitalism and non-interference from government regulation of private business. Despite the philosophical chasm, there has been a meeting of divergent minds, specifically in American politics, on issues vital to oceanic welfare.

Friday night in Laguna Beach, citizens whose political fortunes land on both sides of the aisle came together to raise $1 million for an organization called Oceana. It was the third annual SeaChange, held at the estate of Karen and Bruce Cahill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

"We are proud to share that our efforts have helped put a stop to the inhumane slaughter of sharks," Oceana Board of Directors Chairman Keith Addis said, explaining to the audience that uncontrolled over fishing of sharks, specifically for the harvest of fins to satisfy a worldwide demand for shark fin soup, had created a significant natural imbalance in the ocean's food chain. "Fisherman catch the sharks, cut off their fins, then throw them back into the ocean where they sink to the bottom and drown."


Such inhumane practice is unacceptable to any decent human being, regardless of political affiliation. Clearly, without some important governmental supervision, not just on the part of the United States, but in cooperation with other nations, mankind's reckless nature in pursuit of a buck will eventually create irreversible damage to the oceans and then to mankind itself.

SeaChange Oceana in general attracts major celebrity support. Those taking a cynical view might claim that the attendance of such famous faces as Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Ted Danson, Sam Waterston, Morgan Freeman, Diane Lane, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Eric Balfour and Kristin Bauer, all front and center Friday evening for Oceana, are just window dressing.

The celebrity support is far more important than simple sizzle to attract the public.

"We invited January Jones, the co-star of the popular television series 'Mad Men' to Washington D.C. to attend a conference on the work of Oceana," Addis said. "Jones was so moved by what she experienced that she told me it had been one of the most important days in her life."

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