Monrovia – Stephen B. Lavalah, an inspirational and acclaimed grassroots organizer, planner, and team leader of Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited non-for-profit, passionate and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization has been selected to participate in the 2016 Our Ocean, Our Future Conference hosted by The Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States of America.
The conference takes place on Thursday, September 15 and Friday, September 16, 2016 at the U.S. Department of State while the welcome reception is scheduled for Wednesday, September 14 at the United States Institute of Peace.
For eight unbroken and successful years, Lavalah has been working alongside scores of selfless and tireless volunteers, staff members and board of advisors on environmental conservation, sustainable development, education, health and agriculture.
Youth Exploring Solutions is now leading the quest to a greener future and save earth through their sweats, blood, and tears, and everyday more dedicated, determined and committed environmental enthusiasts join their innovative grassroots initiatives to make our planet greener, our water safer and our air cleaner.
In August 2013, the Founder & Executive Director of YES, Stephen B. Lavalah, traveled to the United States of America through a very competitive process to participate in the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Community Solutions Program (CSP). During this four-month professional development program for the world’s best and brightest community leaders, Lavalah worked extensive on various environmental issues ranging from energy, water, food, waste and ecology.
“We believe the 2016 Our Ocean Conference will further enlighten, broaden, and strengthen our voluntary grassroots environmental advocacy and outreach activities, coastal cleanup initiatives, anti-plastic bag campaign and planting trees” the young environmental activist noted.
In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry: “We have to keep the momentum going so that we can come together and protect our ocean. Why? Because our ocean is absolutely essential for life itself – not just the food, but the oxygen and weather cycles of the planet all depend on the ocean.”
The conference stems from the fact that life on Earth depends on the ocean. A healthy ocean is central to human wellbeing. The ocean feeds billions of people, employs millions of workers, and generates trillions of dollars in the world economy.
Yet, as vast as our ocean and its resources are, they are not infinite. And today the ocean is under tremendous pressure from human activity – including unsustainable and illegal fishing, marine pollutions, and climate-related impacts.
It is against this backdrop that Secretary of State John Kerry will host the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., on September 15 to 16 to catalyze actions to protect our ocean from these threats and to empower a new generation to lead the way toward a healthy and sustainable ocean.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry launched the first Our Ocean conference in 2014, gathering a community of bold thinkers and actors to find solutions to the threats facing our ocean. In 2015, Chile hosted the second conference, spurring more action to protect and save this precious resource. Together, these Our Ocean conferences have produced partnerships and initiatives valued at over $4 billion, as well as commitments to protect almost 6 million square kilometers of the ocean – an area almost twice the size of India. The 2016 Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., continues the momentum, celebrating the great progress made on previous commitments and catalyzing even more ambitious actions to protect our ocean.
The Ocean Conservation Community comprising of Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Marine Conservation Institute, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Unite, The Pew Charitable Trusts, are World Wildlife Fund partners to host the welcome reception for Our Ocean 2016 Conference.
Lavalah expressed his deepest appreciation to the Government and people of the United States of America for providing such a wonderful opportunity to participate in the 2016 Our Ocean Conference, which will enable us turn our ideas into practical solutions in helping to make our ocean safer, healthier and cleaner.
“On behalf of Youth Exploring Solutions, I am grateful and delightful for the U.S. Government unwavering and unbending support to helping a voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization like Youth Exploring Solutions educate and empower people of all ages to become problem solvers as well as tolerant thinkers to transform Liberia through our own imagination, creativity and national proud” the YES executive director asserted.
Lavalah continued: “We are very excited and fascinated to join The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State of the Department of State United States of America in the third Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C. to continue building upon the work people around the world are doing to protect and preserve for ourselves and generations yet unborn”.