January 21, 2022

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa receives $50 million for ocean health

News Source: Philanthropy News Digest

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has announced a seven-year, $50 million commitment from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in support of its School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

The gift will fund efforts to inform the public, policy makers, and resource managers about ocean acidification and warming vulnerabilities while training the next generation of coral scientists and ocean conservationists. To that end, SOEST, which works to transform the way people live on Earth by enabling a healthy public, economy, and planet, will use the funding to conduct research on the impact of climate change on Hawaiian coastal waters and methods for more accurate forecasting of future ocean conditions.

According to UH, the accelerated pace of climate change and ocean acidification has altered environmental conditions faster than expected. Many species have difficulty adapting to the rapid changes taking place in the oceans and scientists see growing impacts to marine ecosystems.

“Hawaiʻi has one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world—and having a deeper understanding of this ecosystem is the key to preserving and protecting it,” said Zuckerberg and Chan. “We’re honored to support the University of Hawaiʻi’s conservation efforts, including their trailblazing research on coral reef restoration, the impact of climate change on coastal waters, and other areas related to the health of our oceans.”

“The ocean ecosystems that evolved over eons now face unprecedented threats from our growing human population and our behaviors,” said UH president David Lassner. “It is critical that we learn from previous generations who carefully balanced resource use and conservation. The clock is ticking, and we must fast-track not only our understanding of marine ecosystems and the impacts of climate change, but the actions we must take to reverse the devastation underway. There is no place on Earth better than Hawaiʻi to do this work, and no institution better able than UH. We could not be more grateful for the investment of Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in a better future for all of us and our planet.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images/martin voeller)