Hope Spots are special places that are scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean. Our Hope Spots are championed by local conservationists whom we support with communications, expeditions and scientific advisory. I wish you would use all means at your disposal – films, expeditions, the web, new submarines, campaigns – 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. – Dr. Sylvia Earle
While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. They can be large, they can be small, but they all provide hope due to:
- A special abundance or diversity of species, unusual or representative species, habitats or ecosystems
- Particular populations of rare, threatened or endemic species
- A site with potential to reverse damage from negative human impacts
- The presence of natural processes such as major migration corridors or spawning grounds
- Significant historical, cultural or spiritual values
- Particular economic importance to the community
The idea is that anyone can nominate a site special to him or her—a site that gives HOPE. Collectively all of these Hope Spots will create a global wave of community support for ocean conservation that leaders and policymakers can’t ignore.
STEP ONE: Read the guidelines HERE and make sure you are up to the challenge!