Asociación Ondine-in collaboration with Mission Blue and the Sylvia Earle Alliance-are very proud to announce the Balearic Islands as the first “Mission Blue Hope Spot” in the Mediterranean.
Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean—Earth‘s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection. About 12% of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than 4% of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of marine protected areas maintain healthy biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive.
This recognition was awarded through the expertize and vision of Dr. Sylvia Earle and her Mission Blue team who visited Mallorca from the 10th to the 12th of November 2015.
Dr. Sylvia Earle was joined by Mrs. Gigi Brisson, CEO and Founder of The Ocean Elders and Mr. Carl Gustav Lundin, Director of IUCN Global Marine and Polar Program.
Dr. Sylvia A Earle is Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy®Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorers Club Medal, the Royal Geographic Society 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal.
This delegation was here in Mallorca to make a final, in person, decision on whether or not to declare the Balearic Islands a Mission Blue Hope Spot, having sent in our application several months prior.
What does this mean?
This is an opportunity for us to both amplify our work and put back into the environment that keeps us all, well, alive for one, and employed.
We invite all nautical businesses, captains, crew and their families to take part in celebration. A celebration of nature and a celebration of our ability inspire change, a BLUE change.
Each of us has the ability help and contribute. As a community we join forces to leave a legacy for our children that sustainably supports our lifestyles, our businesses and our beautiful islands.
Asociacion Ondine, as I see it, is the conduit for solidarity, force and local actions. We have created a solid platform to utilize through clear objectives designed to bring science, community & conservation together.
Asociación Ondine objectives:
- Keep building our BLUE community through public presentations, school programs and hands on actions.
- Provide our MPA (Marine Protected Areas)
expertise/support to local/mainland government.
- Concentrate on MPA´s and Plastic Pollution
Our newly declared Mission Blue Hope Spot is international recognition of not only our marine environment but of our strong community spirit and our successes achieved by local government, individuals and NGO´s to begin the process of a BLUE change. This can be shown through the 7 Marine Protected Areas that the local government created over the past 10 years.
Having 7 MPAs, including one of the most successful in the Mediterranean, meant introducing Dr. Earle, Mrs. Brisson and Mr. Lundin to EL Toro Marine Reserve was a critical aspect to the Hope Spot declaration.
I love seeing peoples reactions to diving in our “El Toro” MPA particularly when so many have such low expectations of the Mediterranean Sea.
Dive brief complete, SPLASH..we were in, and instantly surrounded by a huge school of Barracudas..awesome! Then came various species of fish and of algae , which put a huge smile of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s face! Just as we were ending the dive, Sylvia caught something in the corner of her eye….her grouper! Fantastic. Everybody returned to the boat with huge smiles on their faces and raving about how surprised they were at the amount of life down there!
A very special moment indeed, we just impressed and surprised Dr. Sylvia Earle, not a bad effort at all. Well done El Toro MPA.
Dive complete, we raced back to the hotel for a press conference. Turn out at the event was excellent. Attendees spanned the gamut from Government officials- both local and mainland-, local school children, business leaders, dive centers, artists, you name it.
Dr. Earle delivered her message with the knowledge, passion and experience she is famous for, pointing out the basic, yet important points of why we must care for our seas and oceans. Her presence and knowledge not only inspired the audience but also inspired an entire community, the community of multicultural goodness, which is, the Balearic Islands.
We have received messages of support from all the Balearic Islands as well as messages of inspiration from further afield, some as far away as South Africa and Australia!
Over the past few years Association Ondine has had an ever increasing amount of people asking how they might participate and get involved? My response always is, “by the simple act of reaching out to us, you already are involved!” Honestly, showing interest in marine conservation is really all it takes to get things rolling.
As Dr. Sylvia Earle says “We are all connected to the ocean, everything we do, every breath we take, we are connected and it’s a part of our lives and a necessity for life on this planet”
So I invite you to connect with us at Asociacion Ondine, every one of you, businesses, individuals, school to help us better understand, protect and improve our amazing home.
Call us, email us as we are very excited to work with anyone who has interest in Marine Conservation, lets see how YOU fit into this BLUE puzzle.
Asociacion Ondine has various marine research programs, Beach Clean ups, Underwater clean-ups, Schools programs, business presentations, volunteering opportunities & eco-artists and is open to new concepts and ideas. We are a huge BLUE community that is waiting for your call and for your input. Help us in our strive to unite the Balearic Island communities and the Mediterranean Sea and create a better world for us all. Happy days!
Come and join the fun folks! Doing good things for great reasons is actually quite a lot of fun!
For more information I invite you to look at the Asociacion Ondine website and Dr. Syvlia Ealre´s Mission Blue website.