Official visit to Sweden: Why engage in the Ocean?
Your Royal Highnesses
Sweden and Norway are almost entirely surrounded by water. We can sail from the northernmost point of the Bothnian Bay, down the Baltic Sea coast, through the Kattegat and Skagerrak, then up the Norwegian Sea, past Lofoten and into the Barents Sea, far north.
In 2008 and 2009, Crown Princess Victoria, Crown Prince Fredrik and I actually sailed in those northern waters near Svalbard and Greenland, as part of our common trip to the Arctic.
The ocean connects us – to each other, to nature and to ourselves. You know that feeling when you dive into the ocean, and you feel that burst of joy inside you when you feel the salt water? When you understand that you are part of nature, that you are connected to nature - but also to yourself. When you feel that this is who I am as a human being - you feel that you are alive, right. And that is at least part of why I love the ocean.
The ocean also connects our two countries – as maritime nations, with histories closely bound to the sea. We are dependent on the ocean. For thousands of years, the sea has provided us with food, employment, and access to goods. It has been our main means of travel, our gateway to the world. We have ventured out on long journeys to seek new places and made contact with other peoples and cultures.
And the ocean is full of potential. The sea can help us solve some of our major challenges. The ocean offers a foundation for business and livelihoods. It can provide food and food security for the world’s growing population. The ocean is a source of renewable energy. As much as 21 % of the soultions we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved in the ocean.
But all of this - or most of it - is dependent on an ocean in balance. And as we all know: Our ocean is not in good health.
The ocean is getting warmer, becoming more polluted and growing less resilient to the negative impacts of human activity. Returning the ocean to it natural balance calls for targeted action.
Friends of the ocean, this knowledge is well known to all of us who are gathered here today at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences – invited by Stockholm Resilience Centre. We share a true passion for the ocean.
So, what are we trying to achieve?
We need to bring the ocean back into balance, and through that the world back into balance. We have a collective opportunity and responsibility to protect the seas. As we unite behind the science, let’s take care of the ocean – and thereby take care of ourselves.
Now, please welcome a devoted ambassador for the ocean and my good friend, Crown Princess Victoria.