Dear Friend of the Ocean,
Recently, while diving in the warm waters of the Western Caribbean, I was reminded of the critical importance of our work. When I made my first dives there some 50 years ago, the reefs were vibrant and decorated with schools of brightly colored fish. As I kicked my way down to 60 feet below the surface, it didn’t take long to realize that so much has changed…and not for the better.
Jacques Cousteau once mused on our complex relationship with Nature,
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive.
In this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive,
he must protect it.”
Cousteau said these words last century. Today in the 21st century, with his words of wisdom emblazoned on our spirits, the fight for our ocean is at a fever pitch.
I have just returned from the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Conference in Marseille, where I presented a bold vision of protection across 50 unique ocean habitats — Hope Spots — deemed the most ecologically critical by scientists. At the meeting, we brought together major stakeholders from around the globe to work together for the conservation and sustainable development of the oceans. It was the largest gathering of its kind ever held.
The 50 Hope Spots are the fragile seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean. As we hold them tenderly in our hands, we have a choice: do we resign ourselves to the status quo of plunder and pollution or do we fight to change the balance? At Mission Blue, we believe that if we don’t act now — if we don’t redouble our efforts in 2014 — we may lose the real chance to save the planet’s greatest treasure.
I’d like to share a few amazing accomplishments of Mission Blue this year. We worked hand-in-hand with Greenpeace — one of our nearly 100 partners — to protect the Bering Sea Deep Canyons from commercial fishing interests. In Washington, we worked with John Kerry and the State Department to bring ocean conservation into US foreign policy. Did you know Mission Blue now reaches nearly 3 million people online per month? And nearly 30 million per month when you include coverage in traditional media? We’re proud of our expansive outreach impact and we use it to push for real action on protecting the 50 Hope Spots. We are inching closer to making good on my TED wish, which is “to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the Blue Heart of the planet.” With your help, we are full of hope for the ocean.
The coming year is shaping up to be an even stronger year for Mission Blue’s involvement in protecting our ocean. With your support, we plan to launch expeditions to Hope Spots in order to garner critical allies in the fight for protection. With your help, I will engage thousands of world citizens — from school children to heads of state — at over 300 events in 2014 to help spread a message of hope and action. Through your generosity, we will inspire our network of nearly 100 ocean conservation organizations to galvanize around the 50 Hope Spots — to work together to protect what’s left of our Blue Heart. With your help, we can make a meaningful difference.
Please support Mission Blue today by making a tax-deductible donation online at www.mission-blue.org/donate-now or by mailing a contribution to our offices. Your gift of $25, $50, $100 or more will make a real difference in the fight for a healthier ocean. We are counting on you!
Sylvia A. Earle