September 9, 2011


ASPEN, Colo., Aug. 25

PR Newswire

The independent group of global leaders aims to put ocean conservation at the forefront of the global agenda. Ted Turner, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Sir Richard Branson have joined together to help launch OceanElders to help put ocean conservation at the forefront of the global agenda. The newly formed non-profit organization brings together global leaders to use their wide range of experience and influence, supported by science and data, to pursue the protection of the ocean’s habitat and wildlife.

Joining Mr. Turner, Dr. Earle and Sir Richard Branson as founding Ocean Elders are Jackson Browne, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Linblad, Captain Don Walsh and Neil Young.

“I have a great love for the oceans and I believe that we need a plan to save them,” said Mr. Turner. “I’m honored to work together with global leaders in order to advance critical ocean issues and help protect these ecosystems.”

Over the past four decades, Mr. Turner has stepped into the international spotlight with one accomplishment after another. Whether in billboard advertising, cable television, sports, sailing, environmental initiatives or philanthropy, Mr. Turner’s vision, determination, generosity and forthrightness have consistently given the world reason to take notice.

Dr. Earle, called “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker and The New York Times, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist. She will take the lead from a scientific and conservation perspective, helping navigate the wide range of complex ocean issues. Having led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle’s experience in deep-sea research, exploration and conservation is unparalleled.

“I am excited to join such an incredible group of leaders who share a passion for and commitment to saving the oceans – the blue heart of the planet,” said Dr. Earle. “While less than one percent of the ocean is currently protected, I am hopeful that the influence and organizing power of OceanElders can save the oceans – and ourselves.”

Sir Richard Branson is Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from air and ground travel to telecommunications, health, space travel and renewable energy through more than 200 companies worldwide.  Sir Richard was instrumental in founding The Elders, an organization focused on human rights.

“We are all concerned about the ocean and its declining health.  As the ocean goes, so shall we,” said Sir Richard.  “OceanElders was created to give the ocean a loud and focused voice. It will act as a centerpoint in this field of ocean conservation.  By collaborating with other organizations, OceanElders can provide advice, guidance, and potentially, the tipping point needed to gain media attention and wide-scale awareness.”

In addition to working at the global policy level, OceanElders will develop a web-based network of regional Ocean Elders focused on garnering support for ocean-related issues in their local communities. The overarching goal is to make the oceans top-of-mind in people’s thoughts and conversations, bringing the issue to the forefront of the global agenda for the first time in history.

 The idea for OceanElders was born on the Mission Blue Voyage to the Galapagos Islands in April 2010, where more than 100 scientists, business leaders, philanthropists and celebrities came together to help Dr. Sylvia Earle, 2009 TED Prize Winner. Given “one wish to change the world” by TED, Earle asked for help in catalyzing public support for the urgent need for ocean conservation by advocating for the establishment of a global network of marine protected areas – “hope spots” in Earle’s words – big enough to save and restore the ocean.

A Mission Blue Voyage participant and philanthropist, Gigi Brisson returned home inspired to sustain the momentum sparked in the Galapagos. Aware of the mission and positive impact of The Elders in addressing human rights, Brisson believed that a similar structure could be applied to benefit the ocean. Following its model, Brisson created and funded OceanElders, and targeted global leaders who had a personal passion for the ocean and all marine life.

For more information and updates, please visit OceanElders.

About OceanElders

OceanElders is an independent group of global leaders who have joined together to use their collective influence and experience, supported by science and data, to promote ocean conservation, pursue the protection of the ocean’s habitat and wildlife, and preserve its ecosystems and species diversity. The founding Ocean Elders are Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Linblad, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young.


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