On and off screen, ‘Aquaman’ star Momoa fights for oceans

American actor and environmental activist Jason Momoa makes an appearance at a Portuguese Carcavelos beach ahead of the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, June 26, 2022. (REUTERS/Pedro Nunes)

CARCAVELOS, Portugal — In the superhero blockbuster “Aquaman,” popular Hollywood actor Jason Momoa plays the role of protector of the deep, but with the world’s oceans under threat in real life, he is also taking the fight off-screen.

“Without a healthy ocean life, our planet as we know would not exist,” Momoa said with the sea behind him as he took part in an event on a Portuguese beach ahead of the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, which starts on Monday.

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Around 7,000 people, from heads of state to environmental activists, are expected to attend the conference, which was postponed from 2020 to this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dozens of youth activists from various countries clapped and cheered as Momoa, who will soon become the UN Environment Programme advocate for Life Below Water, spoke about the problems facing the world’s oceans.

“We must seek to right the wrongs we have done against our children and grandchildren, turn the tide on our irresponsible stewardship, and build momentum for a future where humanity can once again live in harmony with nature,” said Momoa, 42.

Momoa is known for his role as Arthur Curry, a half-human, half-Atlantean character in DC Comics’ “Aquaman,” which takes viewers to the underwater world of the seven seas. “Aquaman 2” is scheduled for release in March 2023.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres joined Momoa at the event and apologized on behalf of his generation for not doing enough at the time to tackle climate change, save the ocean and protect biodiversity.