Oceans cover 70 percent of Earth, and Janis Searles Jones’ work is dedicated to the conservation of those oceans in the face of the changing climate.
At 10:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday, June 30, Chautauqua Institution will host Jones as the day’s speaker for the Chautauqua Lecture Series. She’ll be joined at the beginning by George Leonard, Ocean Conservancy’s chief scientist, who will provide a brief, opening primer on ocean science and the impact of climate change. The lecture will be available for streaming on the CHQ Assembly platform.
Jones is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy, one of the largest and most established conservation organizations in the United States. According to their website, the mission of the Ocean Conservancy is “to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges.”
The theme of the lecture series for this week at the Chautauqua Institution is “Climate Change: Prioritizing Our Global and Local Response,” during which Jones will present her lecture: “The Ocean and the Climate: How to Save Both.” According to Vice President and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education Matt Ewalt, Jones will discuss “why public conversation, research and policy on climate action must look to the ocean.”
Not only will Jones speak on the importance of ocean conservancy, she will also discuss the need for comprehensive scientific research in the field. In a 2019 event put on by Aspen Ideas, Jones told listeners about this need, and said that “there’s a lot we don’t know about oceans yet. Ocean science is burgeoning, but it was largely ignored until recently.”
“Our forests, deserts, and jungles have been meticulously studied for centuries,” Jones said at the Aspen Ideas event. “It’s time to start seriously investing in ocean science as well.”
A graduate of the Lewis & Clark Law School and a 2017 Pew Marine Fellow, Jones frequently lectures on the topic of the ocean and environmental law, her area of study. In 2017, Jones took on the role of CEO of Ocean Conservancy, where she leads a team of over 100 researchers, conservationists and policy writers toward her goal of oceanic protection and conservation.
“Our team cares deeply about not just the ocean, but about the people and coastal communities that rely on the ocean every day,” Jones wrote on Ocean Conservancy’s blog.
A long-time lover of the ocean and the environment, Jones attributes her introduction to ocean conservation to a teacher she had in elementary school.
“I felt like even though I was young, I could make a meaningful difference,” Jones wrote on Ocean Conservancy’s website. She still remembers her teacher’s favorite quote; “This is my country. Wherever I go, I will leave it more beautiful than I found it.”
“We are entering a time of unprecedented attacks on our ocean and environment, and yet I am optimistic,” Jones said in an interview with Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit that promotes women as leaders. “It is in the face of adversity that we fully grasp the need to work together to defend the present and build for the future.”
There will be a post-lecture community conversation at 12:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, June 30, on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch, moderated by Tereza Jezkova, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Miami University of Ohio. Additionally, Leonard — Ocean Conservancy’s chief scientist — will present a “Deeper Dive in Ocean Conservancy” at 3:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, June 30, on the Virtual Porch.
This program is made possible by the Helen S. and Merrill L. Bank Lectureship.