Your daily expedition update from Oceana senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor:
The Oceana crew set off for their first dive operation at the Western Dry Rocks off the coast of Key West yesterday morning.
The diving conditions at this first location were far from ideal. Recent storms stirred up the water with sand and mud, leaving the divers with limited visibility of only three to nine feet. Support diver Soledad Esnaola described it as “like diving in milk.” The site was approximately 50 feet deep and a majority of the coral was covered in sediment. Despite the poor conditions, underwater videographer Enrique Talledo spotted a six-foot green moray eel.
The second dive took place at the Western Sambo Reef, which offered much better visibility of approximately 25 feet. After diving in many different environments all around the world, Oceana’s divers found the reefs to be mostly dead or dying, with little biodiversity, very few fish and no invertebrate life. It was far from what they expected to see on a Caribbean reef. They did catch sight of a 10-inch yellow stingray, a three-foot wide brain coral boulder, grey angel fish, yellowtail snapper, small sea fans and wrasse, small cigar shaped fish.
Pearl Jam, celebrated for decades of rock music and activism, have launched a new effort in response to the oil spill, and it’s all about -- you guessed it -- protecting the oceans.
Oceana is a partner in the effort, and their new website, http://pearljam.com/oceans, includes information about what you can do to live blue, including how to eat sustainable seafood, support clean energy, and help with the Gulf clean-up and restoration effort.
Utah isn’t exactly synonymous with ocean conservation. Or so you thought.
On Tuesday, World Oceans Day, I represented Oceana at Ride the Wave, a skateboarding event in Salt Lake City hosted by Utah native supermodel Ali Stephens and her mother Julie Stephens (pictured here towering over me.) T-shirts designed for the event were sold for Oceana’s benefit.
As the sun set over the mountains surrounding the city, several bands played while professional skateboarders ollied, grinded and kickflipped to the audience’s delight. (Yes, I may have just googled “skateboarding terminology.”)
It’s the last day to vote for your favorite finalist to receive this year’s Ocean Hero award!
All of this year’s adult and junior finalists are stellar -- if you checked out any of the profiles I wrote on the blog this month I’m sure you agree. From young shark and sea turtle activists to a sustainable seafood power couple and an ocean trash blogger, all of our finalists deserve plaudits.
We’ll announce the winners on the fast-approaching World Oceans Day, June 8.
This year’s winners (one adult and one junior) will each receive a $200 gift card and Raiatea binoculars from West Marine, a $500 gift card from Nautica, and a trip to the World Oceans Day with Nautica and GQ party in Los Angeles on June 8.
This is the sixth in a series of posts about the Ocean Heroes finalists.
We’re wrapping up our week of Adult Ocean Hero finalists with Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols.
J.’s love of sea turtles started when he was a kid, growing out of a dual obsession with dinosaurs and the ocean.
That curious kid grew up to become an ocean activist and Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences. He has authored more than 50 scientific papers, book chapters, articles and reports on sea turtle ecology and ocean conservation. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Time and Newsweek, among others.
This is the fifth in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Today’s featured finalist, Sara Bayles, is the author of The Daily Ocean blog, which documents her experiment to see how much debris she can collect from her local beach in 365 non-consecutive days.
For 20 minutes at a time she has removed more than 450 pounds of trash from a beach in Santa Monica in just over 110 days. On The Daily Ocean, Sara exposes our dependence on single-use plastic while challenging her readers to make small shifts in their own lives.
Happy Earth Day!
Since there’s so much going on today, here’s a list of things you can do right now to protect the blue marble we call home. Enjoy!
1. Support a ‘safe zone’ for Pacific leatherbacks.
Tell the government to expand critical habitat for endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles to more than 70,000 square miles off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California. Comments are due tomorrow, April 23, so please voice your support today.
2. Take action with Sigourney on ocean acidification.
You can take action too -- tell your representative to support a Congressional resolution that will support policies to study and address the effects of ocean acidification.
3. Stop expanded offshore drilling.
An oil rig about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana exploded Tuesday, in what could be one of the country’s deadliest offshore drilling accidents of the past 50 years. Seventeen people were injured in the blast.
Tell your senator today that you won’t stand for expanded offshore drilling.
4. Bid and text for the oceans.
Today is Christie’s Green Auction, which benefits Oceana, Conservation International, NRDC and Central Park Conservancy. Check out the online auction items, or for a cheaper option, you can text “GoGreen” to 20222 to make a $10 donation today.
Well, I guess the theme of this week on the blog is winning, because I have another proud moment to announce today: The Daily Green has announced the winners of its 2010 Heart of Green Awards, and guess who’s on the list? The one and only Ted Danson.
The actor and Oceana board member is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award; other awardees include chef Jamie Oliver and National Audubon Society's John Flicker.
The awards celebrate individuals “whose work inspires real people to go green," said Dan Shapley, editor of The Daily Green, who interviewed Ted about his work for the oceans. "This year’s honorees embody that mission by championing some of today’s most important causes, including ocean conservation, healthy seasonal eating, urban parks creation and climate change."
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Discovery’s Planet Green has announced 16 visionaries -- people with big ideas that are shaping our world. Joining the likes of Moby, Philippe Cousteau and Stephen Dubner on the list is our very own CEO, Andy Sharpless.
Here’s an excerpt of Planet Green’s interview with Andy:
What accomplishment of the environmental movement over the past 40 years stands out to you?
I remember the first Earth Day. I was a student in Philadelphia and I went to an Earth Day concert where I was in high school. It is absolutely the case in the 40 years since then, environmental legislation in the US -- pushed through by the environmental movement and its many supporters both in Congress and out in families of America -- cleaned up the air and cleaned up the water in meaningful ways especially in American cities like the one I grew up in. The air is safer to breath and the rivers and the lakes are cleaner for the people who use them, and swim in them, boat on them, and fish out of them and for the creatures that live in them.
Last week I participated in one of the most inspiring events in my tenure in the ocean conservation movement: the Mission Blue voyage to the Galapagos.
The voyage was led by legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle and included about 100 movers and shakers, including celebrity environmentalists such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Glenn Close and 30 of the world's leading marine scientists and non-profit leaders (like me).
We all had one question in mind: How can we work together to save the oceans?
I’m thrilled to write that we were able to put aside our conservation turf battles and collaborate to find real answers to the ocean’s biggest problems. In just four days, we spearheaded the following initiatives:
- $1 million to complete a package to protect the waters around the Galapagos Islands
- $1.1 million to launch a plan to protect the Sargasso Sea and commitments to raise a further $2.5 million to see the plan through to success
- $350,000 to boost ocean exposure in schools
- $3.25 million to commence a campaign to end fishing subsidies
- $10 million to start a new partnership to fund longer-term ocean projects
That’s a head-spinning amount of progress in four days -- but I can’t say I’m surprised considering all the brainpower and talent on board.
The folks at TED recorded more than 20 talks on ocean issues while on board, so be sure to look out for those in the coming months.
You can read more details about the background on the Mission Blue voyage at the TED blog.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.