Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mission Blue: Sylvia Earle’s Quest to Save the Ocean

By Kip F. Evans It was really dark, nearly pitch black, as I made my decent to 1,300 feet. It was hot on the surface, but as I dived deeper the heat quickly dissipated, and condensation started to drip from the thick acrylic dome above my head. As I drifted deeper and deeper into the abyss, I peered through my window and looked down, trying to find some kind of visual reference. At 780 feet I could just make out the shape of a tiny submersible sitting on an enormous, white sandy ledge. The sight was totally unbelievable and a bit intimidating — imagine looking down from a huge skyscraper and seeing a tiny spot of light on the street below.…
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5 Questions with Cartoonist Jim Toomey

Jim Toomey, who says two of his favorite things to watch on television as a kid were “Peanuts” and Jacques Cousteau programs, offers up inspiring messages about ocean conservation along with plenty of quirky humor in the comic strip “Sherman’s Lagoon.” Sherman, a great white shark, shares undersea adventures with his pals including camping in a kelp forest and surprising encounters with ocean trash.  Countering the traditional fear factor around sharks, Sherman is “Homer Simpson with fins,” says Toomey. We called the cartoonist to find out more. 1. When did your idea for an ocean-themed cartoon begin? I started drawing caricatures of teachers back in 2nd or 3rd grade. I switched from teachers to sea critters after a family trip to the Bahamas when I was 12.…
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60 Ocean Leaders send message to the candidates

The Blue Frontier Campaign has sent the letter below to both presidential candidates, Mitt Romney & Barack Obama – on behalf of the ocean. Signed by 60 prominent ocean leaders, David Helvarg’s letter is eloquent, important, and definitely worth the read. Call to President Barack Obama & Governor Mitt Romney to Protect the Ocean! (c) Kip Evans Photography As citizens involved with our seas we call on and expect the next President of the United States to support our nation’s ocean based economy and assure the sound stewardship of our coasts and ocean.  Our nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone, stretching 200 miles out from our shores, is the largest in the world, a blue frontier more extensive than our continental landmass.  With increased scientific knowledge and understanding of this, our nation’s second great frontier, comes both an opportunity and a responsibility to restore the blue in our red, white and blue.…
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The Launch of the Sylvia Earle Hope Spot Collection

Today marks the launch of the limited-edition Sylvia Earle Hope Spot Collection. 100 percent of all proceeds will be donated for funding Mission Blue initiatives.…
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Oceans Compact: A New Initiative to Protect the World’s Ocean

On Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a new initiative to protect the world’s ocean from pollution, over-fishing, rising sea levels and acidification. “The seas and oceans host some of the most vulnerable and important ecosystems on Earth, but the diversity of life they host is under ever-increasing strain,” Ban told delegates assembled in Yeosu, South Korea. The crowd was gathered to increase public awareness about the dangers facing the ocean and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ban praised the achievements of the Law of the Sea, which was first opened for signatures in 1982. “Among its principles, the Law of the Sea recognizes that all ocean issues are related and that they need to be addressed as a whole,” the Ban said.…
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Shark Attack Survivor Turned Shark Advocate: Debbie Salamone’s Story

By Mera McGrew In 2004, Debbie Salamone, then a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel, was standing in waste-deep water in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla., when she became a member of an exclusive club. “I saw this big fish jump out of the water next to me and the next thing I knew, the shark was on the back of my foot,” she recalled in an interview with Mission Blue. “I was kicking as hard as I could to get away and it just bit down harder.” Just as suddenly as the shark clenched its jaws around her foot, it let go. Salamone had to be helped out of the water. “I really only had the courage to look back once because there was blood all over – on the sand and washing out with the waves,” she recalled.…
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Science and performance art unite to inspire ocean conservation

Flickering green lights composing the shapes of human bodies emerged from sheer darkness within the Harvard Science Center last Tuesday. Set to music and a narration by Dr. Sylvia Earle, dancers in electrified black body suits appeared to swim onto the stage with their glowing spots tracing patterns through the shadows. This eerie aquatic performance may sound like an alien form of communication – and it almost is. “Aqua Borealis“ by New York’s Kristin McArdle Dance troupe celebrates one of earth’s most exotic and enchanting biochemical phenomena – bioluminescence – the emission of light by living organisms for purposes including prey attraction, camouflage and communication. View a video of Aqua Borealis at www.kristinmcardledance.com This striking performance was the culmination of “Living Light: The Art and Science of Bioluminescence” – an evening of science lectures and performances co-sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History; Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment; Harvard Summer School; Friends of the Farlow Library and Herbarium; W20; and the Pleoades Network (Harvard Gazette, 2012).…
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For Shark Attack Survivors the Fight is Personal

By Mera McGrew A group of shark attack survivors have joined together in what many would think of as an unlikely and ironic mission — to conserve and restore the world’s dwindling shark population. The survivors work in association with the Pew Environmental Group. Dubbed Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation, the group was formed in 2009 and is headed by Debbie Salamone, a shark attack survivor. “No one else can speak up for sharks like we can,” Salamone explained. “When we gather as a group, people are missing arms and legs…we give a very special voice to animals that are being killed at a very detrimental rate.” The obvious question, though, is why? Indeed why would Salamone and fellow members of the Shark Attack conservation group want to protect the very animal that attacked them?…
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Perpetual Ocean: An Animated Scientific Visualization

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has garnered lots of media attention for the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars earlier this week. However, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is involved in many other projects in addition to the Curiosity mission to Mars, including many that deal with space and that directly impact the world’s ocean. One such undertaking is an ambitious project jointly overseen by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The joint project is called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO). Using advanced mathematical tools and satellite images, the ground-breaking research initiative seeks to figure out how ocean currents evolve over time. The scientific applications of the model systems being used in the ECCO project are numerous.…
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Curiosity Underscores the Vital Role of Government-Funded Research

By Mera McGrew Applause echoed through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory just after 10:30 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday, August 5. “Touchdown confirmed,” said engineer Allen Chen. “We’re safe on Mars.” Chen was referring to the successful landing of the NASA rover, Curiosity, on Mars. At a time when fundamental research and exploration budgets are being slashed, this recent Hollywood landing is a reaffirmation of American ingenuity. But why limit this brain muscle to space? The reality is that much of the game-changing creativity and engineering that has propelled Curiosity to Mars could also be used to better understand the world’s Ocean, whose depth and diversity remain largely unexplored. “I wouldn’t take a penny away from the space program,” said ocean advocate, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and Mission Blue founder Dr.…
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