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The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Capitol Hill Ocean Week is meeting June 7-9 in Washington, D.C., and virtually. The conference’s theme, “Sea: The Future,” will celebrate the 50 years of progress achieved in ocean and coastal conservation and set a course for the new policies and actions necessary to sustain oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.

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This year, Mila Turner, Ph.D. was named to the Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) Advisory Committee for the first time. An assistant professor at Florida A&M University (FAMU), Dr. Turner serves as social science lead for a $30 million National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant to FAMU’s Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. She is an environmental sociologist whose work explores the relationships between humans and their environments in an effort to achieve environmental and climate justice.

“It is a joy to serve on the 2022 CHOW Advisory Committee since having this seat at the table means I get to amplify the concerns of coastal communities as well as elevate the contributions of Black scholars and activists to this national stage,” Turner said. “This year, we’ll be having very important conversations about sustainability, the future of our food from the sea, blue (renewable) energy, and protecting biodiversity- all with equity in mind as we strive for environmental justice.”

The Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders in marine science and helps guide the development of Capitol Hill Ocean Week’s conference program to focus on the most pressing issues facing the ocean and the Great Lakes.

“Meaningful participation is a necessary component of justice, so there are opportunities for everyone – including students- to share their ideas, wisdom, and priorities on significant issues that impact our oceans,” Turner said in a statement.

The conference convenes policymakers, scientists, managers, business leaders, conservationists, educators, students, and members of the public to engage in dialogue and debate on significant issues that impact our ocean and Great Lakes and to propose innovative policies and partnerships to address these issues.

In 1972, the U.S. enacted a wave of legislation to protect and sustain our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. These landmark bills included the amendments to the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Act Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

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