Mission Blue sets out to help save the ocean

Mission-Blue.jpgBy Enric Sala


The sun is rising shyly between dark gray clouds behind the island of Baltra, and the sea is as calm as it gets.

This is the Galapagos, the place where Charles Darwin conducted key observations that later shaped his theory of natural selection.


National Geographic video feature about the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos changed our understanding of the world. But now we are changing the Galapagos–by illegal fishing, human population growth, and invasive species–as we are changing the rest of the ocean. We are taking too much out of it–seafood–and throwing in what we don’t want–our sewage and garbage.

I am here with an extraordinary group of individuals–scientists, artists, conservationists, business people–to discuss some of these issues and foster ideas to help save our ocean.

National Geographic Endeavour ship.jpg

We are based on the National Geographic Endeavour ship, and we are hosted by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design–a series of conferences based in Long Beach to spread good ideas).

This ocean conference–Mission Blue–is part of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle’s “TED Wish,” an award she received in 2009. Her wish is to see the creation of global network of marine protected areas. Her wish is our wish; this is why we all are here.

We start today with a series of stimulating talks and a dive in the warm waters of the Galapagos. I can’t wait to tell you what I see, and what I hear.


Marine Ecologist Enric Sala is a National Geographic Fellow. A 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, and a 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he also received the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities with National Geographic. Sala’s experience and scientific expertise contributes to his service on scientific advisory boards of environmental organizations.

More blog posts by Enric Sala 

Lifegiving Power of the Sea
“We have learned more about the ocean in the last half century than in all of preceding history,” says Sylvia Earle, marine biologist. “But at the same time, more has changed.” Read the full interview.

National Geographic Galápagos Islands Photo Gallery



Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn