Oceans: Sylvia Earle’s Mission to Save the Blue

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Over in the paper and iPad TIME magazine, I have a long story this week on the oceanographer Sylvia Earle and her mission to save the oceans. I’ve written about Sylvia before on Ecocentric, during our trip to Bermuda—no matter what you think about her very ambitious plan to created vast protected areas across much of the ocean, you have to respect her experience, her passion and her sense of wonder, unextinguished after 7,000 hours under the water. You can get a sense of how she’s managed to motivate people for her cause by watching this speech she gave last year to the TED conference—the one that earned her the TED Prize:


You can also see some amazing photography of one of the high seas hotspots Sylvia is working to protect: the Coral Triangle in Southeast Asia. And check out the video that TIME photographer Shaul Schwartz—who shot the photos for the magazine story—put together of our trip to the Sargasso.

One additional point: I should have added in the story that the collection of 10 “high seas hot spots” we mentioned comes from a great document called the High Seas Gems, put together not just by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, a smart NGO that is building the legal and scientific case for marine protection, especially on the high seas. You can download a PDF of the High Seas Gems booklet here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the work Sylvia is doing, check out her brand-new foundation, the Sylvia Earle Alliance (she prefers SEAlliance). Mission Blue, meanwhile, is begin adopted by the National Geographic Society, IUCN and a number of other groups as part of a larger push for general ocean conservation—check out their brand new site here.

I’d also like to thanks the friendly Bermudians who helped with our story, even though I made the brilliant decision of coming to the islands in the middle of hurricane season—especially Philippe Rouga, and the great Teddy Tucker, who guided our search for sargassum. (Teddy is a living legend of underwater exploration—he has dove shipwrecks and found actual treasure around the world. Check out his site.)