Reflecting on my experience at the EarthEcho Blue Entrepreneurship and Policy Forum

Guest post by Pia Visaria

Nestled in the heart of San Diego, California, I found myself immersed in a transformative experience that stretched far beyond its boundaries. From August 10-13, the 2023 EarthEcho International Blue Entrepreneurship and Policy Forum became a catalyst for forging connections, sparking change, and reshaping my understanding of ocean advocacy.

The forum was more than an event; it was a dynamic opportunity to learn, share, and envisage a sustainable future. Stepping into this environment of shared aspirations and unwavering determination, I realized that I was part of something much larger than myself. Here, young leaders and seasoned professionals alike converged to discuss, collaborate, and shape solutions for the most pressing climate challenges of our time.

During those transformative days, a tapestry of presentations, discussions, and interactive sessions unfolded, illuminating the complex tapestry of climate issues and the innovative strategies needed to navigate them. The Blue Entrepreneurship and Policy Forum became a platform for young advocates like me to exchange insights on regenerative aquaculture’s rise and kelp farming's potential to reshape industries and economies.

Planning for the 2023 EarthEcho Youth Leadership Summit

While the formal discussions were captivating, the essence of the forum extended far beyond its structured events. We delved into cross-disciplinary dialogues that encouraged fresh perspectives and creative approaches. As the days progressed, the narrative evolved from individual ideas to collective solutions, emphasizing the transformative power of merging diverse fields for the greater good.

Integral to the forum's essence was its unwavering focus on empowering the next generation. EarthEcho International's mission came alive through dynamic discussions, creating space for young voices to resonate. This sentiment resonated profoundly as fellow Youth Leadership Council members like Brigitta shared insightful perspectives on mangrove restoration and 30x30 initiatives in Indonesia. Cameron's thought-provoking insights on Indigenous land acknowledgments and her impactful COP15 experience further enriched our dialogue.

A highlight beyond the formalities was the Youth Leadership Summit planning, slated for November 4th and 5th. As a member of the events committee on the council, I participated actively in crafting the preliminary aspects of the Summit. The discussions were intense yet exhilarating, as we brainstormed speakers, venues, and activities to create an event that would empower and inspire.

Amidst these engaging moments, there was space for laughter, bonding, and unexpected adventures. Experiencing the exhilarating flip of our kayak at La Jolla Beach, triggered by my momentary surprise at the sea lions, and sharing this adventure with my pair partner Maraki is a memory that I won’t forget. Late-night brainstorming sessions, the thrill of an all-nighter on the final night, and the delight of indulging in delicious desserts from the UCSD dining hall are all core memories from the time spent in San Diego too.

As the 2023 EarthEcho International Blue Entrepreneurship and Policy Forum concluded, a renewed sense of purpose and dedication lingered. The experiences gained from this event will forever shape my approach to leadership and advocacy. The excitement that swirls around planning the Youth Leadership Summit and driving the 30x30 movement forward is infectious, and I look forward to embracing every challenge and opportunity that the future holds. I can’t wait for all the future opportunities to connect and work alongside these amazing individuals, driving positive change together.

Pia Visaria is a high school senior from Princeton, NJ and a member of the EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council. In August 2023, she joined fellow YLC members and EarthEcho's ResilienSEA Externs for the 2023 Blue Entrepreneurship and Policy Forum in San Diego, CA

A special thanks to La Mer Blue Heart Oceans Fund and The Estée Lauder Companies Travel Retail division for their support of EarthEcho's youth leadership programs.