People often ask me why Honda created a foundation that focuses on restoring marine environments. Actually, Honda has a long history of caring about the environment. From our products to our business practices, we constantly strive to reduce our impact on the Earth. Water covers 70% of the earth and human activity is increasingly affecting the oceans, lakes and rivers. We wanted to see if there was a way for Honda to help mitigate some of these impacts.
In 2015, a small group of Honda associates, including myself, began studying the oceanic and aquatic impacts of our rapidly changing climate. We looked into human impacts on marine environments including water pollution, ocean acidification, rising sea levels and overfishing, and we met with a number of experts to figure out the most meaningful way to help find a solution. Each meeting reinforced the magnitude of the problem but also sparked the notion that cross-sector collaboration could help facilitate successful ocean conservation and restoration.
After about a year of research, we established the Honda Marine Science Foundation in 2016 with a mission to help restore marine ecosystems and facilitate climate change resilience. The foundation awards grants once a year to fund research that addresses the impact of human activity and climate change on the oceans and intertidal areas, and more specifically, living shorelines. The Foundation’s focus is very much in line with the efforts of Restore America’s Estuaries. That’s why Honda and the Honda Marine Science Foundation decided to sponsor student scholarships for the 9th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management. Young people are our future, and they are the ones who will have to solve the environmental problems caused by previous generations.
At the Summit, I had the pleasure of having lunch with the scholarship students. We shared our educational backgrounds, as well as one new or surprising thing we learned at the Summit. I was impressed by the breadth of work the students were doing at their schools. The students also expressed how much they were learning at the Summit. After listening to everyone’s stories, I know the future is in good hands!
If you’d like more information on Honda Marine Science Foundation or to apply for a project grant, I encourage you to visit marinescience.honda.com.
Raminta Jautokas is the manager of corporate sustainability at American Honda Motor Co.