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Andy Sharpless: Ocean Visionary

andy sharpless

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.


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Mission Blue Voyage a Success

andy sharpless

That's me presenting during the Idea Champions session on the Mission Blue Voyage. © TED/James Duncan Davidson

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.


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Oceana In Christie’s First-Ever Green Auction

I’d like to give you a sneak peak at the first international green charity auction to be held on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2010.

Christie’s International has invited four leading nonprofits to be the beneficiaries of its first charity auction for conservation: Oceana, Conservation International, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy. Between us, we work on all seven continents – and, of course, the oceans in between.

A Bid to Save The Earth will include a live auction at Christie’s New York City space in Rockefeller Center as well as a silent auction conducted online at Charity Buzz. Every item up for bid is donated, and Christie’s is waiving all its usual fees to allow the maximum impact for the beneficiaries.


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