Underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement — and his fears — about the blue heart of our planet.
Photography by Mariette Papic
Rememberin that it takes 2,900 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans this project should come as a glass of fresh water:
[Everything in the dumpster void collection] is made from many same shape pre-cut fabric pieces discarded by industrial sewing factories. The pre-cuts are the negative space of designs, left-over after cutting. The challenge for DumpsterVoid project is to use found fabric pieces as they are without re-cutting. The design is the result of its ‘limits’. the pre-shaped form. Great emphasis is given to stitching and layering.
More about the designer: Gertrude Berg
Photo of Enric Sala on board the National Geographic Endeavour by TED/James Duncan Davidson
Another morning walk on land to watch iguanas, frigatebirds, and sea lions. Female sea lions were milking their babies in the middle of our path, ignoring us completely. Needless to say, we walked around the path to not disturb, after the mandatory “how cute/how sweet” statements. Back on board, we were treated with fascinating talks and deep discussions.
Who said scientists can’t communicate? Well, most can’t, but on the National Geographic Endeavour we have some of the best science communicators out there. The following are some of the thoughts that stroke me the most.
We need a new operating system for our relationship with the ocean (Dee Boersma). We’ve been taking too much out of the ocean – the fish we like to eat – and thrown in what we don’t want – our sewage and garbage.
If the ocean ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy – Steve Palumbi, explaining that ocean health is essential for our health. Currently, many toxic chemicals that we use to make plastics make it to the sea and to our bodies alike. For instance, Inuit mothers in the Arctic cannot breast feed their babies because their milk is too loaded with pollutants.
If fish could scream, not many people would go fishing – Chevy Chase. Well, Chevy is not exactly a scientist, but he showed us very explicitly how horrible it would be to catch a fish that is screaming and complaining about the pain inflicted by a steel hook. As he said, torturing an animal just for “sport” does not sound very human.
In addition, we learned that blue whales can hear each other songs from as far away as 500 miles, and also that noise produced by humans – like ship noise – is disturbing so much the sound environment underwater that whales have to call louder to heard each other. We are probably making their life very difficult, and find a mate a struggle.
Finally, some signs of hope. Steve Palumbi said that the list of solutions outweighs the list of problems. And we know that some of them, like marine reserves, work when well implemented and enforced. The question is: how to scale them up at the global scale?
Photo by G. Maxwell - Flightless Galapagos cormorant captures octopus in front of Mission Blue team!
Where on Earth one can see a flightless cormorant capturing an octopus, and two orcas killing a sea turtle? Where dopes one have to look attentively to the ground for fear of stepping on marine iguanas as black ad the lava rock? Where do baby sea lions bask in the sun oblivious to our presence? Only in Galapagos; and we saw all of this morning. What a privilege! As Sylvia Earle told me while we were watching them, the beauty of this place is intoxicating.
After the morning walk we had two intense talk sessions, where speakers talked about the vulnerability of the ocean, and about protection. Very inspiring messages, and signs of hope amidst the stories of ocean degradation.
Our environmental chef Barton Seaver spoke eloquently about what marine food - fish and shellfish - represents for us. He recommends eating lower in the food chain, and more vegetables. It’s good for us and for the ocean. I couldn’t agree more after he named a series of recipes that included oysters and good wine!
Another key moment was when Daniel Pauly reminded us about our shifting baselines - what you think is natural is not. Because of continuous environmental degradation, successive generations become used to lower standards. We deplete species and they become rare - and over time we believe they were always rare. As he said, “we believe that the species that disappear are always the abundant ones, not the rare.”
How can we capture all these thoughts and the talent on this boat? I hope we can, to help mitigate human impacts in the ocean
The sun is shyly rising 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. 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. We are based on the National Geographic Endeavour, a Lindblad Expeditions 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.
Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize wish to protect our oceans
Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean — and shocking stats about its rapid decline — as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.
The Story of Bottled Water 2010
For those living in countries fortunate enough to have clean, drinkable tap-water on free-flow it is time for us to take back the tap! This clever video reveals some inconvenient truths about the bottled water industry while providing inspiring solutions and actions that we can all take part in.
Every child deserves access to clean water. So simple, so pure, so true. Show your support, spread the word (we have!), make it a reality.
From March 1-31, 2010, Giorgio Armani Parfums will donate $1 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF: for each person who registers as a friend on the Acqua di Gio Facebook page up to a total donation of $50,000… With $1, UNICEF can provide safe water to one child for forty days. For more information visit www.unicefusa.org.
Alice in Wonderland is timeless. It’s open to interpretations and it’s up to you to make them. I decided to make it for a few reasons: this is my all time favorite book, my daughter Sacha is the same age as Alice (10) and very good at modeling underwater and, finally, the story itself seems like from some lucid different place…(underwater perhaps ?)
Read the full interview here
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL: Seed Hunter
Unless answers are found quickly to strengthen the genetic base of our food in accelerating climate change, our world could face mass starvation.
Solutions to this crisis lie within Mother Nature herself in the form of diverse genes found in the wild ancestors of our staple foods - and the man to hunt them down is Dr Ken Street, the Indiana Jones of agriculture.