April 8, 2010

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This conference-at-sea, the first of its kind,  was conceived by Dr. Sylvia Earle to bring together 100 global leaders—scientists, businessmen and women, policymakers, communicators and others—for several days of deliberation about the intertwined future of the ocean and humankind.  Traveling among the spectacular Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour, the participants are focused on fulfilling the wish Sylvia outlined in her TED Prize acceptance speech in 2009:
“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.”

Mission Blue Voyage Update 
Sea Lion foraging
Cormorants nesting with eggs


The Galápagos Islands are unlike any other place on Earth—and our first day amply demonstrated this, as voyage participants branched out by land and sea.  Some hiked the island while others took a zodiac and snorkeled.  Sightings included iguanas sunbathing, flightless cormorants nesting, orcas foraging and sea lions dining—all before noon!



Session Highlights

Sylvia Earle 

Sylvia introduced participants to Mission Blue Hope Spots. Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean, Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already protected, while others are important enough that it is imperative that they be protected. About 12% of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than one percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is highlighting the importance of protection for 18 Hope Spots. 

Brian Skerry

National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry explained the importance of showing what’s beneath the ocean’s surface, noting that most people have no idea.  In addition to his gorgeous images highlighting the bounty and the beauty of the ocean, he also has a keen interest in depicting the dangers it faces.  Specifically, he works to capture images that evoke emotion; for example, showing the killing of top predators like bluefin tuna and sharks that now face the threat of extinction.  Without these species, he noted, the health of the ocean is compromised—along with our own.


Daniel Pauly

Renowned ocean researcher Dr. Daniel Pauly asked “How did we get the ocean and ourselves into this catastrophic situation?” He then offered his insights on the topic of shifting baselines—and how we humans often accept these changes unconsciously, whether natural or human-induced. Every person and every generation resets their perception of “normal” from where they started and reflect only on those changes that occur during their lifetime. Previous changes are not usually considered when dealing with the loss.  As an example, 50 years ago in the Galápagos Islands, the Sailfin Grouper was abundant; today it has been overfished to the point that it’s now listed as “vulnerable.” Locally, the loss is accepted.  Globally, the impact of this phenomenon is terrifying.

Kristian Parker


After the day’s sessions concluded, seven working groups formed to generate action plans around the concept of “idea champions.”  Later this week, their plans will be revealed.   


Kristian Parker
outlined his idea to form an Ocean Council with clear focus and specific, short-term results.

Our evening concluded with a “zodiac cocktail party,” with guests taken via inflatable boats to a nearby cove.  Floating in the quiet waters and listening to the talented Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, I hope for a better world—one where tunas and sharks thrive, and the ocean is restored. I imagine the abundance that our ancestors knew, and I wonder if my own children will experience such a place.  There, with the stunning Galápagos as the backdrop, I believe we all agree it is our duty to make that hope real. 
Written by Laura Cassiani, Mission Blue COO
Edited by John Racanelli, Mission Blue Executive Advisor
Photographs by James Duncan Davidson TED

To learn more about the voyage, check out: facebook/missionblue

See photos from the Mission Blue Voyage at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missionblue/

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One Comment

  • Hello,

    You have created a very good site! Blue Voyage is one of uniqueness.It is the most popular holiday to be had in Turkey because it covers so many places on one trip. The Blue Voyage covers such a large area that we split them into two because the average holiday of one or two weeks would not cover such a distance. Thanks a lot…

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