Protecting Our Life Support System: Challenges and Opportunities in Marine Conservation
The world-renowned National Geographic Explorer in Residence Enric Sala launched the National Geographic Pristine Seas project in 2008 to explore and help inspire the protection of the last wild places in the ocean, an absolutely critical last-ditch effort to prevent the complete unraveling of global marine ecosystems. Made up of an extraordinary team of scientists, conservationists, filmmakers and policy experts, Pristine Seas has helped protect 6 million square kilometers of ocean habitat (more than twice the size of India!). Partnering with 122 different organizations and agencies across 23 countries, its work has inspired the establishment of some of the largest marine reserves in the world. Enric discusses the vital importance of healthy oceans to humanity’s future and what Pristine Seas hopes to accomplish in the years ahead.
This talk was delivered at the 2022 Bioneers Conference.
Enric Sala, Ph.D., a former professor who quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, founded and leads Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research, and media to inspire leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped create 25 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of more than 6.5 million square kilometers. Sala, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, has, in the past 15 years, earned numerous prestigious awards and honors for his conservation work.
The cognitive and emotional benefits of healthy oceans and waterways have been celebrated through art, song, romance and poetry throughout human history. In this 2014 keynote address, marine biologist, activist, community organizer and author Wallace J. Nichols dives deeper and explore our blue minds through the dual lenses of evolutionary biology and cognitive science, reminding us that we are water.
Rod Fujita is the co-founder and Director of Research & Development for the Environmental Defense Funds Oceans Program. As the lead senior scientist, Rod has spent over 30 years leading a team of scientists and policy experts to identify marine conservation problems and design solutions to protect the planet’s oceans. In this article, he speaks about the importance of aligning the value of conservation with the value of people who make a living on fishing.