Parley: Tackling the World’s Biggest Issues and Forging New Collaborations Around Ocean Health for COP21.
Parley Founder: Cyrill Gutsch
Interview: Bonnie Calvin

Bonnie Calvin: What is Parley for the Oceans?

Cyrill Gutsch: Parley is a space where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans. It is a collaboration forum, a call to action, a place where ideas are exchanged and solutions are not only made but acted upon. We are facing a threatening reality. Our oceans are about to die. Scientists defined the deadline for their collapse in the year 2048. We are losing species at light speed, and we know today that we already entered the sixth mass extinction event. There is no doubt: if we continue like this and don’t change rapidly the way we treat this planet, then we are the next dinosaurs, because we simply cannot live on a planet with a dead ocean. Our lives
depend on it as part of our life support system.
There are many individuals and organizations who fight for the conservation of our oceans. But believe that it takes more than one individual or one group to solve the problems. They are too complex to repair in a monodisciplinary way. Parley is designed for exactly this challenge.

BC: What drove you to create Parley?

CG: On June 16, 2012, I was sitting in a small law office and meeting Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd and cofounder of Greenpeace. Through Paul, I became fully aware of the crises around our ocean’s health and how the way we do business contributes to these crises. How we deal with our assets, how we create products. And that makes my profession, the creative class, responsible. The idea that we are the generation that allows our oceans to die is something I could not accept.

BC: What current projects are happening and in the works?

parley-200CG: Parley works to identify the different aspects of a problem, isolate them, and design a set of initiatives that can tackle [them] from different angles. The actual implementation is then done by our network of collaborators. Our strongest focus right now is on ocean plastic pollution. We developed a strategy called A.I.R., which stands for “Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.” [It] has the potential to become the new industry standard ofhow to deal with plastic on the levels of product design, production, distribution, and promotion. In short: The current plastic is a design failure. It never dies. We can end plastic pollution by stopping the production of new “virgin” plastic and only recycling what we have already, then inventing our way out of this mess by creating new materials that have the same or better attributes.

BC: What is the Parley Paris event about?

CG: Parley in Paris is a space where we invite leaders from environmental organizations, governments, corporations, and the creative industry to learn about the interdependence between the oceans, climate, and life. It’s also a collaboration space to work on solutions, to start initiatives or projects, or simply to get some inspiration. We prepared for Paris by collaborating with the president of the General Assembly [of the United Nations], who hosted Parley Talks on June 29 at the General Assembly Hall in New York as a supporting event of the High Level Meeting on Climate Change, the pre-meeting of COP21. Our objective is to get the creative community and the industry behind the cause, and find efficient ways for their participation in the solution.

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