Have you watched Ocean Frontiers yet?

Ocean Frontiers is a movie you cannot miss the opportunity to watch. If not because you are genuinely interested in a film that outlines the transition of thought from the “the outlook is grim for the future of the ocean” to “there is a light at the end of the tunnel for our ocean“, then watch it because it’s always a pleasure to view any work of art that is clearly a labor of love as this obviously was for producers Ralf and Karen Meyer.

The movie takes you across the country (Washington State, New England, the Gulf of Mexico) and shares stories of the movement of scientists, farmers, fishermen, government agencies, and businesses as they come together for long-term solutions with the understanding that there is prosperity through preservation. Now that “jellyfish are often the catch of the day”, “many of the largest fish have been caught”, and “most of the world’s coral reefs are bleached and dying” there is recognition that the “sea is not boundless”.

Below is a clip from the movie illustrating how the Florida Keys were transformed and revitalized through this attitude of cooperation and that the mentality that the long-term outlook is best for all. How I loved watched this part as it reminded me of my days in Florida for graduate school!

Don’t be blue!

The annual BLUE Film Festival was held from August 24-29 in beautiful Monterrey, CA. The event is sponsored by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium and has recently become more and more mainstream attracting many high profile ocean community celebrities. The winner of the festival last year, The Cove, even won an Oscar for best documentary!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rick MacPherson’s overview of his time there this year as he recounted how Julie Packard, Executive Director of Monterrey Bay Aquarium, challenged the highly talented and knowledgeable audience on how to engage the public to “care enough to do something about it”. Sometimes it seems as though we try and try and still make no headway.

Of course, in the past thirty years the movement to create a public that cares certainly has taken some giant leaps forward. We’ve been made aware of the bountiful wonders of the ocean and there is a collective knowledge that the ocean is in peril. But, that is only the beginning. Attitudes, skills and participation must be challenged as well. How that happens and where it begins is a perplexing question and unique to each individual.

For instance, not too long ago, I asked some colleagues to see how they got a foothold into the environmental education field and mostly the answers did revolve around wanting to teach others about what we love: woods, mountains or oceans.

With me it has been the sense of place. People have linked a strong sense of place as a child to advocacy efforts in adulthood. For instance, would I be as interested in the ocean and fishing communities if I did not grow up in Cape May County, New Jersey? (In 2009, Cape May County was the fourth largest valuable fishing port in the United States.)

Maybe how we, the ocean advocacy community, begin to think about challenging attitudes, skills and participation levels is to remain optimistic. However, this is more often than not a very difficult task (I am about to have my first child so I am all about remaining optimistic and hopeful for the future).

But, in an effort not to let ourselves get too blue, here is a list of accomplishments that would not have occurred without such a dedicated ocean community:

This is only a fraction of what has been accomplished! Have another success story? Please add it in the comments to keep the momentum going strong. Thanks!

Image (c) http://www.vimooz.com

Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes moves forward

This past January I posted some information about the campaign to Wear Blue  for Oceans Day. The purpose of this campaign was to call attention to President Obama and Congress to agree to sign and release a national ocean plan. I am happy to post that on July 19, 2010 the executive order was passed.

Read the nitty gritty details straight from the White House here.