Today, the 8th of June 2015, is World Oceans Day! The oceans are the depth of our own soul. Can you fathom the power and beauty of that statement and let that sink in to the core of your being? That, in itself, is reason enough to celebrate and remind us of the importance to honor and respect this element. On a more surface level, this planet is one of the few water planets in this part of the galaxy, and our bodies are made up of at least 70% of water, and 2/3 of Gaia is covered with water.
Those facts are, for certain, a valid reason to celebrate not just today but every day. So destroying the oceans and polluting them in every possible way from styrofoam to oil spills and big corporations using them as dumping grounds for all sorts of stuff is not a solution. Without the oceans we can not live here. They are the lungs of the earth. Can you imagine what would happen if your lungs shut down? So today is more like a reminder of the importance of the oceans and water as a living cell in our bodies. Whatever we do to the oceans, we are doing to our bodies. As the coral reefs are vanishing together with the big fish, remember a place called Cape Cod! Well guess what, cod fish populations in that area collapsed and fishing was banned for six months last November. This is happening all over the planet and as long as the big corporations focus only on the profit and their own selfish deeds we are are trapped in a death spiral that will consume us all. Yes, positive thinking and imagining blue crystal waters will, of course, help. We have seen with several experiments that water maintains a memory and is affected by our attitude and thoughts.
Yet, we still on a more physical level have to stop this madness. Today, let it be the first day of our lives that we declare with one strong voice: WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR OCEANS ANY MORE. WE WILL STAND UNITED and do what it takes with the most powerful weapon, LOVE and RIGHT UNDERSTANDING. Let us unite as One Heart and One Mind and nothing outside of that energy can be maintained. We are today claiming our right to one human race and stewards of this blue orb. Pollution of the oceans and this planet is no longer an option and will be dealt with according to the law of the universe.
Mission Blue is excited to partner with Blue Ventures, a science-led social enterprise that works with coastal communities to develop transformative approaches for nurturing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. In cooperation with their many partners, the Blue Ventures team works in places where the ocean is vital to local people, cultures and economies, and where there is a fundamental need to support human development. Over the last decade, their models have guided national fisheries policy and been replicated by communities, NGOs, businesses, donors and government agencies along thousands of kilometers of coastline. Blue Ventures have created the largest locally managed marine protected area (LMMA) in the Indian Ocean, catalyzed a sea change in community-led fisheries management, established sustainable aquaculture and ecotourism businesses, and developed new approaches to financing and incentivizing marine conservation. So far their work has impacted the lives of more than 200,000 coastal people.
Blue Ventures have contributed more than 20 stories to the Mission Blue curated Google Earth Explore the Ocean layer, visible on our website here (search for Blue Ventures). From community conservation, small-scale fisheries, blue forests and aquaculture, to community health and education, these stories represent the diverse range of transformative community-centered conservation initiatives, which engage communities towards long-term solutions for decreasing poverty, preparing for climate change and safeguarding biodiversity. Finalizing these stories for submission to Explore the Ocean was greatly aided by dedicated volunteers from Portland State University (Adam Zaremba, Kendra Lynn).
Through their partnership with Google, Blue Ventures are pioneering the use of and providing proof of concept for a number of emerging online mapping tools and storytelling resources. These tools are providing substantial practical benefits to ongoing marine research and conservation efforts in diverse ways, from influencing regulatory frameworks (e.g., securing municipal-level legal resource management rights; influencing REDD+ policy for mangroves), to facilitating conservation efforts (e.g., improving existing livelihoods through mangrove restoration, conservation and reduced-impact use), and contributing to predictive ecological models (e.g., future mangrove deforestation scenarios). Most recently, through the Trekker program, Blue Ventures have collected the first Street View imagery for Madagascar. The imagery resulting from the Trekker program is hoped to specifically help further bring attention to all of Blue Venture’s ongoing community-centered initiatives, and more generally, increase global awareness of Madagascar, showcasing in panoramic detail the incredible cultures and biodiversity the island nation is renowned for. What this new Trekker imagery means for the people of Madagascar is previously unavailable representation to a global audience. Through this additional exposure, it is hoped that further attention will be brought to the many challenges faced by the Malagasy, and the organizations and institutions engaged with local communities towards tangible long-term solutions.
Blue Ventures initiatives are generously supported by funding and in-kind contributions from organizations and institutions listed here.
For overviews of the themes within which Blue Ventures is working with coastal communities, view these Factsheets.