Five years ago, I was among a group of scientists, activists, artists and policymakers who went to the Galapagos with a mission to explore the biggest issues facing our ocean — and identify actionable solutions. This voyage, Mission Blue, was the result of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize, for which I was the director.
That trip played a catalytic role in ocean conservation. When Sylvia won the TED Prize in 2009, only 15 marine reserves (“hope spots”) existed; now there are 50. Less than 1% of the ocean was protected; now over 3% — about 3 million square miles — is under some kind of protection from industrial fishing, dumping and drilling.
It also changed the trajectory of my work.
It seems almost too perfect a parallel that I‘m writing this post aboard Mission Blue II. We’re again with Dr. Earle — a group of activists, scientists, technologists and policymakers aboard National Geographic Orion, traveling from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands.