Sylvia Earle Fact
Sylvia Earle Fact

Celebrate World Oceans Day!--Featuring Mission Blue

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published June 8, 2019

Seemingly big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel or dream, our oceans are full of mystery, power, and beauty. Indeed, there is a type of magic about the ocean; people are drawn to it, swim in it, play in it, and are memorized by it. It’s a living thing that can simultaneously welcome and awe.

Yet, how ironic that the sea, from which life itself first rose, should now be threatened by us. Today, from choking plastic, to leaking oil, to carbon emissions, humans generate a vast amount of pollutants that threaten the very life of the ocean. That is why for World Oceans Day, we turned to the experts to explore the beauty of the ocean--and what we can do to conserve it. We're excited to talk to Mission Blue, a global initiative aimed a protecting and conserving our oceans. Let's check it out:

  • How does Mission Blue commemorate World Oceans Day? We celebrate our Hope Spot Champions! These communities have come together in over 100 different locations on Earth to advocate for protection of their piece of the ocean. From the coastal waters of New Zealand, where a campaign is underway to save the Hector's and Maui dolphins from extinction, to the azure waters of Southeast Florida, where local residents are fighting to prevent the slaughter of the magnificent goliath grouper, each Hope Spot has its own story. What all these communities have in common is a vision: a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet!
  • What is the best way for people to get involved on World Oceans Day? Nominate your own Hope Spot at missionblue.org! The application process is open to any citizen of planet Earth and we are continually receiving, reviewing and approving new Hope Spots to be added to the movement. If you don't have time to nominate a Hope Spot, we get it: it's a lot of work. Another way to help out is donate to Mission Blue on our website. Every dollar donated counts towards supporting Hope Spots around the world with expeditions, communications, science advisory, and special projects. A final very simple way to make arguably the largest impact: stop eating fish.
  • What’s one fact people don’t know about Mission Blue? Our founder Dr. Sylvia Earle has spent more than 7000 hours underwater. That's nearly 9 months! To learn more about Dr. Earle, often called "Her Deepness" in the ocean conservation community, and the story of Mission Blue, check out the Netflix documentary Mission Blue.
  • What is one fact most people don’t know about the world’s oceans? You have the ocean to thank for the oxygen in every other breath of air you breathe. Specifically, you can thank Prochlorococcus, a photosynthetic picoplankton that is likely the most abundant photosynthetic organism on Earth.
  • If you could tell your audience one thing, what would it be? We tell them all the time day in and day out! Without a living, functioning ocean, we lose a planet that works in our favor. Mars comes to mind. We need to take care of the ocean as if our lives depend on it -- because they do!
  • What’s the best way to hold fishery managers accountable for marine life conservation? We believe the foundation for effective management comes from sane policy. The best way to protect marine environments is the establishment of no-take marine reserves. These are places where no extraction of any type is permitted by law, places like Cocos Island in the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot or Cabo Pulmo in the Gulf of California Hope Spot. Of course, enforcement in marine protected areas continues to be a challenge throughout the world, owing to the vastness of the ocean and resource scarcity at government agencies (especially the environmental ones!).
  • What draws you to the ocean? John F Kennedy said it best: "we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came."
  • What is one future goal of Mission Blue? We want to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. Ideally, that would be comprised of no-take marine reserves, places where the fish, sharks, tuna, corals and others can flourish free of any human impact. These Hope Spots can be the seeds of tomorrow's healthy ocean. They are a roadmap for the protection of the blue heart of the planet. How much of your heart is worth protecting?
  • Is Mission Blue optimistic about the future health of our oceans? Yes. Now, as never before, we have the opportunity to make a difference. Our power stems from the incredible knowledge we now have, thanks to decades of scientific work, that we didn't have 50 years ago. We now know what we are doing to the ocean and we also know that marine reserves are the way to safeguard it for the future. Through knowing can comes caring -- and action!
  • Anything else you’d like to add? Keep your eyes peeled for a Hope Spot we are launching on June 8th. Hint: it's in the UK but not in England!

A big thanks to Mission Blue! For more interesting ocean facts, ways you can help, educational tools, interviews, and insights take a look at the links below:

MissionBlue

Ocean Facts | Fact Retriever

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