Friday, July 03, 2009

Sylvia Earle's TED Prize Wish To Protect Our Oceans

Sylvia Earle explains her TED Prize Wish:
To bring knowledge of our oceans to a wide audience and galvanize support in favor of marine protected areas.

We invite a variety of responses from TEDsters in pursuit of this goal:

* Development of technologies that would permit deep sea exploration in order to make the invisible visible
* Supporting (or organizing) expeditions to explore proposed “hope spots”
* Helping make the scientific case for a network of MPAs
* Identifying and exploring candidate MPAs
* Creating a media campaign in support of MPAs
* Backing the upcoming Oceans documentary to ensure wide viewership
I think this is a great wish and hope she is successful in her endeavor. As loyal Fat Knowledge readers know, I am a huge fan of deep sea exploration (mapping the bottom of the ocean is #4 on my list of scientific achievements I am looking forward to) and wish all of NASA's funds would be redirected here. Her Deep Search Foundation is a worthy cause as well.

Aside: It pains me to see that another of the TED prizes went to Jill Tarter who wants to improve SETI. If there is a bigger waste of brain power in the world than SETI, I don't know what it is. While the chance of finding new strange and fascinating terrestrial life at the bottom of the ocean is almost 100%, these guys are spending their time trying to find ET which has worse odds than the lottery.

The more MPAs the better. I believe that MPAs allow fishermen to have larger catches as well, (I am sure I have read this, but can't find the link right now), which gives it an economic rational as well. The World Database on Protected Areas is a cool Google Maps mashup that shows where all the MPAs in the world are located. Hopefully we can go from 1% of the sea being protected to 5% in the next 50 years.


joehydro said...

As an ocean mapping specialist, I can personally certify that there are huge areas of ocean that hold secrets most people cannot imagine. Coastal regions in particular need attention beyond resource allocation and navigational surveys. Linking the impacts of aquaculture and MPA sites to ocean health is an emerging and critical requirement before we pass a tipping point; perhaps too late for some areas, but there are many yet to be saved. Oceanic research needs to get beyond traditional models of funding.

Fat Knowledge said...

Joe Hydro,

Can't wait to see what you ocean mapping guys are able to discover in the next decade. I honestly don't know what the traditional models of funding are, so I am not sure how they need to evolve, but the more funding the better for ocean research as I see it.

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