The GIRL of THE SEA of CORTEZ is my favorite Peter Benchley novel. It's a high-spirited adventure story that speaks to my personal love of the ocean and all its fascinating creatures. The story takes you under the sea to experience the spectacular, but it also shares the threats facing our seas. While this book was written 30 years ago, Peter was prescient about mans complex relationship to the sea. This captivating story is even more relevant today than ever.
--Gregory S. Stone, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for Oceans, Conservation International
"The ocean drives the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle … it drives the way the world works. Even if you never touch the ocean, the ocean touches you every day. And it’s only now, as we get into the 21st century, that we’re beginning to put the blue part of the planet on the balance sheet."
"It is our responsibility to preserve and cherish this pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
--Carl Sagan, Astronomer + Author
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
--Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer + Explorer
Sharks Matter - Debunking the Jaws Myth and Rewriting the Script on these Majestic and Misunderstood Creatures.
Last week I had the great pleasure to speak at the New England Aquarium's IMAX Theater at an event hosted by Women Working for Oceans (W2O). We celebrated Massachusetts joining eight other states that have enacted legislation to ban shark finning.
They asked me to address the myths that have grown up around sharks and "Jaws." I led with my most important observation, which is that over the past forty years attitudes have changed greatly and support for protecting sharks is gaining momentum.
I covered the myths and realities of these areas:
1) How Jaws changed ocean awareness and helped create a new generation of marine scientists. While the media has continually sensationalized the fear of sharks, the movie has become a multi-generational viewing experience where grandparents, parents and children watch together and discuss ocean issues.
2) Why sharks are evolutionary wonders, their importance to the health of our oceans, and how much we have learned about sharks through research and new technologies.
3) The devastating impact of shark finning (more than 100 million sharks killed every year) and how effective WildAid's powerful PSA campaign has begun to turn the tide (50 percent reduction in demand for shark fin in last 2 years)
4) Ocean conservation is now a global priority. Marine protected areas are one of the most effective ocean conservation tools we have. I was thrilled to be invited to take part this summer in Secretary of State Kerry's "Our Ocean" Conference. Over two days hundreds of marine conservation initiatives and new ideas were exchanged, including President Obama's declaration to expand the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument from almost 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles.
5) The Ocean is not political. It’s ours. It’s everyone’s. Taking action and coming together in a bipartisan way to craft legislation at every level — local, state, national and international—to protect our seas has been the focus of my efforts for more than four decades. This gives me hope.
A few slides from my presentation...
Standing here with Nigella Hillgarth, the new CEO of the New England Aquarium