When you wish upon a star...especially one that lives in a marine preserve like this one at Moss Beach, California. Photo via John-Morgan via Flickr CC
n 2009, Sylvia Earle - a TED Prize winner - made a wish: "I wish you would use all means at your disposal -- films! expeditions! the web! more! -- to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet." This year, she's getting it. Coordinated by Razorfish, Mission Blue is a project whose aim is to create those very marine preserves through all possible avenues. And it already has an ambitious plan for this year. So far in granting Earle's wish, Razorfish has created a brand and an ocean awareness campaign that will launch in April 2010. Earle's foundation has received a $1 million grant Planet Heritage Foundation, and a partner network has been created including National Geographic, IUCN, Google Earth and Deep Search Foundation.
But that's just the start to realizing a vast upswing in marine protected areas. More corporate partners are needed to promote ocean issues, more sponsors, more committments from world leaders. It'll take a massive effort - and Mission Blue is just what's needed.
According to TED, "One piece of Mission Blue is a sea voyage to the Galapagos Islands, April 6-10, 2010, gathering some of the world's most renowned ocean experts -- marine scientists, deep sea explorers, technology innovators, policy makers, business leaders, environmentalists, activists and artists -- for an epic adventure into the blue. Just as important, through the Mission Blue Voyage, we will seed a million-dollar fund to create more marine protected areas."
We've already seen how marine protected areas can help corals recover from damage due to pollution and overfishing, and healthy corals are the heart of a healthy ocean. But marine protected areas don't just benefit marine life - they benefit humans too. As a Fijian community leader stated, "The marine protected area is like a bank to the people. Opening more branches of the bank in developing countries can contribute to coastal poverty reduction."
Right now only about 1% of the planet's oceans are protected. So, we're excited about the efforts of Mission Blue, and hope to see great progress as it kicks off this year.
More on Marine Protected Areas
Sylvia Earle Wins TED 2009 With Talk on Our Oceans (Video)
Think Coastlines are Protected? Think Again.
Countries Falling Behind As World's Oceans Are Still "Vastly Under-Protected": Study