Richard Branson has spent the last several years focused on one overarching goal: getting to outer space.

But he spent World Oceans Day among the UN General Assembly waxing poetic not about Mars, but about the oceans, because he wants to travel to space for leisure, not out of necessity.

And if current trends continue, he’d be traveling out necessity.

Through climate change, overfishing, pollution, mining, drilling, acidification, and more, the world’s oceans are in a dire state.

If they collapse, then all of life on Earth would soon follow — that’s how absolutely essential they are. While they may seem invincible in all their immensity, the oceans are delicate systems that need to be treated with respect.

Here are seven quotes from Branson’s speech at the Ocean Conference.

1/ “The ocean gives us oxygen, food, it gives us joy, we give it plastic, we saturate it with carbon.”

2/ “Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only three people have been to the deepest place of the ocean, Mariana Trench.”

3/ “Refuse to allow the legacy of this generation be that we allowed the tragic decline of our oceans to happen right before our eyes, and worse, that we aided and abetted its demise.”

Image: Ray Boland, NOAA

4/ “We couldn’t ask for a better place to live, let’s face it Mars and the moon are not very hospitable places.”

5/ “The days of exploiting first and considering the consequences later must well and truly end.”

Image: George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

6/ “A healthy ocean is our most important ally in the fight against climate change.”

Image: Flickr: Mark Seton

7/ “We have the opportunity, we know what the solutions are, let’s get to work.”


Defend the Planet

7 Powerful Statements From Richard Branson’s Call To Save the Oceans

By Joe McCarthy