Monthly Archives: February 2015

Reconnecting Humanity with Nature at the Biophilia Ball

In November last year, Synchronicity Earth hosted the Biophilia Ball – London’s largest wildlife party – at the Natural History Museum to honor 50 years of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ and raise funds for global science and conservation. Biophilia is Synchronicity Earth’s initiative to reconnect human society with nature. Defined by E.O. Wilson as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life,” the concept of Biophilia is more important now than ever in the face of global threats such as climate change and ocean acidification. The Biophilia Ball connected environmental luminaries including Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle with musicians, performers and artists for a spectacular evening of performance and masquerade that brought guests on a journey from the open ocean to the frozen arctic to the grasslands of Africa and highlighted the amazing diversity of life on Earth.  …
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Fighting to Protect Mandahl Bay

By Courtney Mattison Mission Blue is proud to partner with Friends of Mandahl as they work tirelessly to protect Mandahl Bay from a proposed development project that could severely damage vital coastal habitat on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas. “We are all very excited about this news,” stated Friends of Mandahl Steering Committee member Karl Callwood. “This partnership signifies that scientists, environmentalists and 30 million everyday people from around the world are recognizing the critical significance of the Mandahl Bay ecosystem.”[i] Mandahl Bay is home to a lush mangrove wetland that provides nursery habitat, food and shelter to many commercially important fish species as well as sea turtles, seabirds and crustaceans. The mangrove forest also collects sediment that would otherwise smother sensitive near-shore coral species, including the critically threatened elkhorn coral Acropora palmata.…
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Conservation, Education and Research in French Polynesia

Mission Blue is excited to partner with Te Mana o Te Moana! Veterinarian Dr. Cécile Gaspar founded Te Mana o Te Moana – meaning spirit of the oceans – in 2004 to preserve our marine environment for future generations through three key actions: Conservation, Education and Research. For over ten years now, this Tahitian nonprofit has developed actions and programs in these three fields throughout French Polynesia. Coral reefs, sea turtles, marine mammals and sustainable practices are some of Te Mana o Te Moana’s main priorities, but it is constantly looking to develop its actions in any field that can have an impact on the health of our planet. The foundation also works with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Reef Check – two other Mission Blue partners.…
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Shari Sant Plummer on Saving Our Oceans

Mission Blue Board Member Shari Sant Plummer sat down with WWF’s World Wildlife magazine to discuss exploring and protecting the ocean. (Originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of World Wildlife magazine): Were you scared the first time you went scuba diving?No, I took to it very naturally. It feels like flying to me. I especially love being in warm, clear water, where you can experience the vastness of the ocean. I feel a freedom under water that I never get on land. Plus, while diving a healthy reef, there is the opportunity to watch fish in every size, shape and color swimming through vibrant ancient corals. It’s magical. Is there a particular species that you’re intent on saving?Yes, humans! At the end of the day, ocean conservation is not just about saving a particular fish, it’s about saving ourselves.…
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Ocean Protection Expands in Horn of Africa

Four new marine protected areas have been declared in the Republic of Djibouti Mission Blue partner, KAI Marine, is happy to officially announce the exact positions of the marine protected areas (MPAs) of the Djibouti MPA Program of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Djibouti. Since 2012, KAI Marine has been assisting UNDP and the Department of Land Management and Environment in the development of the MPA Program’s management plans and communication strategy. These MPAs, situated at the gates between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean in a region known as the Horn of Africa, safeguard a hotspot of biodiversity. Pristine coral reefs, mangroves, sea turtle nesting beaches and unique oceanographic features are home to many great pelagic species including the whale shark, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and sea birds.…
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Protection may be Imminent for Great British Oceans

By Courtney Mattison Mission Blue has teamed up with a coalition of leading marine conservation organizations to urge the British Government to step up to its responsibility to safeguard the maritime zones of the UK’s overseas territories by creating three of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world. Through the Great British Oceans campaign, this alliance between 106 signatories including The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Greenpeace UK, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Marine Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, the Blue Marine Foundation, the Marine Reserves Coalition and National Geographic Society is gaining support for the UK to fund large-scale, full marine protection in the waters surrounding Ascension, Pitcairn and South Sandwich Islands. The United Kingdom has jurisdiction over the fifth largest combined ocean area in the world – a collection of territories nearly 30 times the size of the UK itself.1 The three MPAs proposed around Ascension, Pitcairn and South Sandwich Islands would more than double the size of existing protected areas in the global ocean.2 Fully protecting these areas would mean shielding countless rare and threatened species including endemic seabirds, whales, turtles, penguins and corals from the enormous threats of overfishing, pollution and resource extraction.…
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Happy Valentine’s Day from Mission Blue!

#50ShadesofGrey     •     #50ShadesofBLUE     •     #ValentinesDay…
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What’s the role of factory farming in ocean degradation?

By Brett Garling We often forget that our actions on land always affect the ocean. The effects can be positive; for example, by banning plastic bags, municipalities are helping reduce the roughly 20 billion pounds of plastic that enter the ocean every year. That’s great news and the deplastification movement is thankfully picking up steam. Yet, we also continue practices on land that greatly harm the ocean. The destruction, however, largely happens out of sight and out of mind. For example, industrial animal agriculture is seriously impacting our waterways and ocean yet few people know it. Yes the treatment of the animals is ghastly – and that is reason enough to avoid purchasing factory farmed meat – but there is also an impact on the ocean.…
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Citizen Oceanography Meets the Marine Microbiome

By Rachelle Lauro of Indigo V Expeditions (new Mission Blue partners) When we think of the ocean, often times it’s the more exciting and interactive denizens of the sea that come to mind. We can easily connect with the plight of cetaceans in captivity, monitor bycatch, track orca populations and lobby against shark culls. It’s hard to believe, but the ocean could be completely devoid of macro-life, yet continue to serve its main function of atmospheric buffering, nutrient cycling, CO2 absorption and oxygen production. Taken in sum, the ocean is the backbone to sustaining habitable living conditions on earth. A healthy ocean ecosystem underpins healthy life on land, national security and business interests for humankind. Yet we continue our assault on this very fragile ecosystem with no real information on the effects of our activities.…
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Protecting Italy’s Underwater Treasure

By Mariasole Bianco, President of Worldrise (a new Mission Blue partner) Cinque Terre is definitely one of the jewels in the crown of Italy. Riomaggiore, Manrola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso are five pastel-hued little towns along the northwest coast of Italy; so romantic, so iconically Italian, that it seems that they were made to grace picture postcards. If you ask, everyone will tell you that the main attraction of Cinque Terre is the magnificent landscape representing the harmonious interaction between people and nature. This is undeniably true, as the landscape illustrates a traditional way of life that has existed for 1,000 years – when stone wall terraces were built to colonize the steep hills and high cliffs of this area overlooking the Mediterranean.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle