Did you know that in the last 18 months more than 1.5 million square miles of ocean have been fully protected? That’s 62% of the fully protected areas that exist on the planet.
Take, for example, New Zealand’s Kermadec Trench. As of this year, this Mission Blue Hope Spot now contains a full 239,000 square miles of marine reserve. The fascinating critters in this deep, unexplored region are surely dancing a salty jig!
Friends, the global call for marine protected areas – Hope Spots! – is bearing fruit. Every new square mile of ocean that gains protection is the work of many organizations, governments and passionate individuals. We are so proud to be part of this chorus for the blue planet. And we are honored to have you with us.
As 2015 comes to a close, we are asking for your generous support to help keep us afloat. We’ll even send you a gorgeous set of HD wallpaper images that showcase the beauty of the ocean and the creatures in it – humans included! Please consider giving. Any amount makes a real difference!
This last year was the best on record for Mission Blue. Dr. Sylvia Earle led Hope Spot expeditions around the world: to Cocos Island where pressure was put on the government to do more to protect hammerheads; to the Gulf of California where Mexico’s director of protected areas voiced support for protecting up to 10% of Mexico’s sea; to the Balearic Islands, where Dr. Earle announced the first Mediterranean Hope Spot in unison with strong local support; to Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine, home of some of the most important cod nurseries in the world; and to the Coral Triangle on the Mission Blue II voyage where venerated organizations like Oceans 5 and PARLEY announced substantial grants to help protect Hope Spots.
Dr. Earle also made a landlubber’s voyage to the United Nations in New York this year, where she gave an impassioned plea for more protection of the high seas. Thanks to her efforts and those of countless coalition members, the UN listened and passed a resolution to lay the groundwork for protection of the high seas. And earlier this month, Dr. Earle attended the climate talks in Paris reminding world leaders that there is no climate solution without a healthy ocean, what she calls “the big blue elephant in the room.”
This year Mission Blue kept immense pressure on policy makers to do what’s right for the planet – through petitions, press blitzes, online outreach to millions, expeditions, grassroots organizing and the ongoing Mission Blue film, which won an Emmy in September. Our message of ocean conservation now reaches hundreds of millions of eyeballs a year. And our influence is accelerating.
We’re thrilled to announce that we recently reached our goal of raising $80,000 for Mission Blue through a generous matching grant by Mission Blue Board Director Shari Sant Plummer in honor of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s 80th birthday! If you contributed, THANK YOU! If not, please consider helping us in our goal of doubling that amount between now and March 2016 and wish Dr. Earle the happiest birthday yet!
Of course, we are still charting a difficult course ahead. Though this past year had heady victories, we also ran into brick walls. For example, our efforts to protect the Bering Sea Canyons Hope Spot were torpedoed by entrenched fishing interests. It was a heartbreak, but we’ll be back at it again in 2016.
Friends, we can’t do this work without your support. Every dollar helps our continued efforts to inspire a world where the ocean is protected and respected. Now, as never before, we have the chance to save what’s left of the living systems that support life on the planet. We should act as if our lives depend on a healthy ocean – because they do.