In 2012, I heard the term blue economy for the first time while I was a staffer for former San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. Terms like “clean tech” or “green economy” were familiar, but the idea of a blue economy was new and very few people were talking about this concept.
What is the blue economy? The United Nations lists several definitions, which are summarized by the Center for the Blue Economy as having, “three related but distinct meanings- the overall contribution of the oceans to economies, the need to address the environmental and ecological sustainability of the oceans, and the ocean economy as a growth opportunity for both developed and developing countries.”
While this new sector wasn’t talked about much in 2013, then Chair of the Board Cox’s State of the County Address declared “the blue economy is the next big thing” and called for coordination among an alphabet soup of federal, state and local public agencies, including the California Coastal Commission and the California State Lands Commission to promote its development.
Little did I know at the time how fortunate I was to have a front row seat as I served as Supervisor Cox’s key policy advisor covering the Coastal Commission and the National Ocean Council’s issues during the onset of these cutting-edge initiatives.
Fast forward a decade, and Supervisor Cox’s vision (and my relentless pursuit to prove him right) is being fulfilled. California has thriving traditional industries like shipbuilding, commercial fishing, marine tourism and ports that form a strong foundation for exciting new ocean initiatives that are driving sustainable and equitable opportunities in the blue economy such as:
- Blue carbon
- Electric vessels
- Coastal protection
- Seawater desalination
- Marine protected areas
- Offshore wind and wave energy
- Biotechnology and marine pharmaceuticals
- Blue economy clusters and workforce development
It’s exciting to see each of these areas taking off in various stages of development in California –stay tuned for future blog posts as we dive deeper into the benefits, complexities and opportunities for each, as there are many!
Given the nuances in this industry, it is important for project developers to have their public affairs and government relations teams in place early in order to be able to deliver positive outcomes.
That’s where Intesa comes in. We’re an award-winning, woman-owned, San Diego-based public relations and government affairs firm that helps clients communicate and advocate with confidence. Now, we’ve added coastal development advocacy services and blue economy expertise to our current client services.
Our team is poised to help leaders make strategic connections, provide expert bench support, and create meaningful relationships so that they can deliver blue economy projects for the benefit of ocean health, human health and economic development.