Welcome to our epic ocean where critical solutions to a planet in peril are brought to the surface. Our Epic ocean celebrates all that is Epic about the ocean and why it is the planet's most vital resource and now to our host Rich Gurman at Just 19 years of age, my guest today found herself sitting in the United Nations Chamber listening to lots of scary statistics regarding the likely fate of our ocean planet. Two things quickly became apparent to her first she noticed she was the only young voice in the room, the only young person in the conversation. And second while there was a lot of fear being projected, there was very little offered in terms of hope, inspirational dialogue or solutions. She began to question everything mainly. Why has my generation been so far removed from these conversations? This one question inspired her as a Georgetown University freshman living in a dorm room to create the sustainable ocean alliance, which in only six short years has become the largest network of young ocean leaders in the world With more than 5000 participants in over 165 countries. Daniella has been recognized for her work by former US Secretary of State and current US special presidential envoy for client john Kerry and former US President Bill Clinton. She has also received accolades with a peter benchley Ocean Youth award and as a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur. She has spoken on countless stages including the economics world Ocean Summit and global climate summit and it is an honor now to have her on my stage, Daniela Fernandez, welcome to our Epic Ocean. How are you? Thank you so much. I love the epic nous of the title. So we're going to make this conversation epic as your show, we have no choice but to make it epic. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'm really excited to talk to you about all the great work that you and your organization have been up to as I just shared, you started S. O. A. S. O. In 2000 and 14. You're a freshman at Georgetown and you did it in part to activate young people around the world to support their focus on solutions to the challenges that the planet is facing. Why was this so important to you at that time? That's right. You know, I'm thinking back as you were reading the introduction to me sitting in that U. N. Chamber and just listening to the doom and gloom and and more importantly asking myself how can I play a role in this, what can I do? And as many young people feel you're often given all of the information, but you're never fully giving a pathway forward um a blueprint of how you can get engaged. So to me it was so important to one, understand what the problems were, but more importantly, understand how I can contribute my talent, my skills that um you know, my ideas into this larger movement that we are all up against and that is you know, facing um facing and solving the climate crisis? I'm curious how did you get in that room at age 19 in the first place? It was through Georgetown. So my application, my my essay to Georgetown was all about using my voice to raise awareness about climate change. And so Georgetown new. But I had a passion for the environment and the Georgian scholarship program invited me to attend this meeting at the U. N. And that was the way that I had a chance to be in that room. Amazing. And taking a leadership role, just kind of come naturally to you. I I think I was always looking for the way that I would have, you know, my my legacy left at Georgetown ever since I, you know, enter those beautiful gates in Washington D. C. Because I knew that I had so much desire and and just energy to give into this movement. But I never knew what it was going to be up until I attended this meeting at the U. N. I like you say it like you were you had been on this planet many many decades and just hadn't figured out your Passion Your 19. So that's what I felt like I hear you, I feel like your generation is really the first one that doesn't need to be educated on what climate changes and on the science, which tells us obviously that much of what we are experiencing is man made. I'm sure you'll agree it's time to focus on creating change, not constantly defending the science. So what do we need to do to enable young people to turn their ideas into reality? Well, first of all, we need to figure out a way to listen to them and give them the platforms to voice, have their ideas, to always have their concerns. And most importantly to also understand where they're coming from. One of the initiatives that we did. It s o a recently as we surveyed our entire young leader community, asking them what their policy priorities were, because when you look at traditional policy making, you get legislation from the top down, you know, you get people sitting around in these closed rooms and brainstorming and thinking through these challenges, but you never listen to the people are on the ground living and experiencing climate change day today. So that would be my number one our suggestions, just to listen to a listening to what's going on in their lives and their communities. And the number two is empowering young people, giving them access to resources, access to tools, access to education, access to funding. That's another initiative that we we have a Sustainable Ocean Alliance and that we provide micro grants. So we give between 1000 and $10,000 to young people to literally go by, you know, your first um poster board or you know, go start your first campaign to do something about it. Because as all of all of us know, it's so hard to translate an idea and to actually without the proper back and the resources.