Changing Planet

Messages from Earth’s blue heart

National Geographic Fellow and marine ecologist Enric Sala sent another post from Mission Blue today. Enric is among a gathering of scientists and others convened on board the National Geographic Endeavour, discussing strategies to save the oceans.

The ship conference, called Mission Blue, is the “TED Prize” awarded to National Geographic explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle in 2009. Earle’s TED wish: “I wish you would use all means at your disposal — films! expeditions! the web! more! — to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”


Sylvia Earle on stage during Session 1 on the Mission Blue Voyage in the Galapagos.

Photo: TED/James Duncan Davidson

By Enric Sala

Galapagos Islands–Yesterday we started Mission Blue with inspirational speakers, who reminded us what we’ve done to the ocean, and what are the consequences for humanity.


If I had to capture their most powerful messages in a single line, they would be:

Humans have been catching fish for hundreds of years, eliminating the “sea monsters”–large fishes and marine mammals–that terrorized us then, and which we miss now. (Marine conservation biologist Callum Roberts)

It’s not about the fish–it’s about life on the planet and human dignity. (Marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson)

Raising environmental awareness among children is one of the most powerful actions we can undertake. (Explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer, Jean-Michel Cousteau)

The ocean is the blue heart of our planet. (Sylvia Earle)


The National Geographic Endeavour is the floating platform for Mission Blue

Photo: TED/James Duncan Davidson


A killer whale swims next to the Endeavour.

Photo: TED/Peter Tyack of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute


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

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David 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. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs 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. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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