April 15, 2010

Mission Blue to Ignite Public Support For Creation of Hope Spots

NEW YORKApril 6 /PRNewswire/ — Today, TED and Sylvia Earle, the 2009 TED Prize winner and world-renowned, deep-ocean explorer, announced the launch of Mission Blue to raise awareness of the urgent need to create Marine Protected Areas – Hope Spots – ranging from the deepest oceans to sunlit reefs. The announcement came on the first day of the Mission Blue Voyage, a first-of-its kind conference hosted by TED from April 6-10 aboard the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos Islands.
Mission-Blue Hope Spots

“I am thrilled to be working with TED to make my wish of creating a global network of Hope Spots a reality,” said Sylvia Earle. “The ocean is in trouble and therefore so are we. Marine Protected areas are places in the ocean that merit special protection because of their wildlife and important underwater habitats. They provide hope for the ocean, hope for us. Each Hope Spot can give the ocean respite from human impacts, and a chance to recover and to flourish.”

Joining the Mission Blue Voyage are more than 100 global leaders, marine scientists, deep-sea explorers, technology innovators, policy makers, business leaders, environmentalists, activists, artists and cultural icons. Presenters include Dr.Sylvia Earle, actor Chevy Chase, Oscar-winning documentarian Fisher Stevens, explorer-filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau, Chef Barton Seaver, and musician Damien Rice. Click here to view the full list of speakers.
Mission-Blue Voyage

"Last year, Sylvia Earle made a wish at TED, asking us to do everything we could to help her launch and build a global campaign to restore the oceans," said Chris Anderson, TED curator. "We're honored to host the Mission Blue Voyage as the first step in using the TED platform to inspire the attendees to advocate for Marine Protected Areas and build a broad base of support for ocean conservation."

More has been learned about the ocean since the middle of the 20th century than during all preceding history.  At the same time, more has been lost.  Global warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise and shifting weather patterns are stressing natural systems above and below the ocean's surface.  Many commercially exploited species of fish have declined by 90 percent; about half of the coral reefs have disappeared or experienced serous decline; hundreds of coastal "dead zones" have developed. Destructive deep sea mining activities are moving forward.  
Clownfish and Anemone – Chagos
Credit Alasdair Harris, Blue Ventures Conservation
Currently, it is estimated that just 0.95 percent of the ocean falls within Marine Protected Areas and of that around 0.08 percent is fully protected and set aside for marine wildlife and ecosystems. The recent declaration of the British Indian Ocean Territory MPA (including Chagos) increases these numbers significantly and will form the world’s largest marine protected area, and a probable doubling of the area of ocean under strict protection for the recovery of marine wildlife and ecosystems. By contrast, nearly 13 percent of the world’s land area is already protected. Marine Protected Areas help recover marine environments in order to provide natural solutions to some of our environmental challenges. They provide safe havens to recover and maintain healthy biodiversity, support habitats that act as carbon sinks to help remove CO2 from the air, and generate significant quantities of life-giving oxygen.
Oceanic whitetip -Chagos
credit Julian Stein / Marine Photobank
Mission Blue partners include the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), Google and Razorfish, the Seattle-based marketing and technology company, which is providing pro bono support to make the Mission Blue an online movement by developing a Facebook page  and an interactive microsite that will go live later this year.
"As a TED attendee and someone who is passionate about ocean issues, I'm proud that Razorfish can help Sylvia create a Mission Blue brand that connects people with the oceans emotionally," said Bob Lord, CEO, Razorfish. "We hope the campaign will help the public understand the importance of conserving the ocean and inspire them to get involved."
Follow Mission Blue at Twitter account, @MissionBlue, and watch for tweets tagged #missionblue. Visit the Mission Blue Facebook page to view photos and video from the voyage and to pledge support for Marine Protected Areas.  Learn more about the Mission Blue Foundation at www.mission-blue.org  

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