About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

February 23, 2009

The problems with America's favorite seafood

Orion Magazine always has thoughtful articles on the connection between the environment and social and political issues. This month's issue features a story on the problem with shrimp. "All You Can Eat" gives you a taste of shrimping, shrimp farming, and why shrimp - in nearly all cases - is not a sustainable choice for the health of the ocean nor for human society. If nothing else, read the last page of the article, especially the last few paragraphs, for a glimpse of how bad it is and how much is at stake in human and ecosystem terms.

Much of the world's shrimp fishing industry is extremely wasteful, with an average of more than five pounds of bycatch killed and discarded "less valuable" sea creatures – for every pound of shrimp brought to port. And shrimp farming typically relies on unsustainable industrial practices with significant ecosystem and human costs.

As the article states, unless you live within about 100 miles of the coast, the shrimp in scampi, cocktails, or the all-you-can-eat platters are coming from overseas industrial shrimp farms. There are also huge carbon costs associated with transporting seafood around the world. If you need a "shrimp fix," try to make it a special treat, choose responsibly, and savor every sweet shrimp morsel!

Whether you eat seafood or not, find more info on how you can consume consciously and help our ocean in the process.

February 13, 2009

Her Deepness Wins the 2009 TED Prize

Sylvia Earle, one of the most knowledgeable and passionate advocates for the ocean, has received a prestigious TED Prize.

While TED Prize winners receive $100,000, the prize offers much more to help people realize their dreams. Winners are granted “One Wish to Change the World” and the TED network provides invaluable talent and resources in collaborative pursuit of that wish. Previous TED Prize winners include E.O. Wilson, former President Bill Clinton, and Bono.

Sylvia Earle's 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.”
Efforts to conserve the ocean have received a nice boost as a result of Sylvia Earle winning this prize. Let's hope the TED network rallies protect our shared world ocean!

Watch/listen to Sylvia Earle's TED Prize talk.

February 2, 2009

Take the plunge with Google Ocean

Google Earth now encompasses the 71% of the planet’s surface that is ocean. With the new ocean layer, you can take the plunge all over our planet, view content from BBC and National Geographic, and explore 3D shipwrecks like the Titanic. Also, with the new Google Earth 5.0 (beta) you can see how your community has changed over time, find out about coastal erosion, and much more.

Although only about 10% of the sea floor has been mapped at a useful scale, this new tool will help with science, policy reform, education, and advocacy. With the public able to have this interactive experience with the ocean as well as, for instance, see evidence of global climate change, people's perceptions may well change. As our current public opinion research is showing, and as our survey work a decade ago also demonstrated, the ocean needs all the help it can get as far as public awareness, education, and action.

Google Ocean has the potential for millions of people to get inspired, learn more about the ocean, and, we hope, help motivate them to take action to conserve the ocean and its great diversity of life. Of course, there is no substitute for getting out from behind the computer and literally immersing oneself in the world’s wonderful ocean as often as you can. However you like to visit our ocean planet, please remember to Seas the Day!

For more on related issues, Andy Revkin has a follow-up Dot Earth post with some thoughtful input from social scientists regarding.