Mission Blue is a global initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance, a 501c3 organization, which was formed in response to Sylvia Earle’s 2009 TED Prize wish. Dr. Earle urged people “to use all means at your disposal — films, expeditions, the web, new submarines — to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.” Mission-Blue.org is an ocean community hub that seeks to make good on Sylvia’s wish by elevating public awareness about critical ocean issues and inspiring support for organizations, projects and scientific expeditions that make a positive difference for the ocean. Decades of overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean — and therefore threaten the future of humankind.
The Sylvia Earle Alliance’s (SEA) purpose is to explore and care for the ocean. We are committed to inspiring a sea change in public awareness, access and support for marine protected areas worldwide, ranging from the deepest ocean to sunlit reefs, and from the seamounts of the high seas to coastal seagrass meadows.
Code Blue Foundation supports the work of Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue, 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. Shari is a founding board member and serves on the Executive Committee of the Sylvia Earle Alliance. Shari is also Executive Producer of the Mission Blue film on Netflix, and leads several expeditions a year with Sylvia Earle.
In the last 400 years, the majority of the world’s plant and animal extinctions have taken place on islands. Seacology’s mission is to help protect the threatened species and habitats of the world’s islands by working directly with local people to both conserve their natural resources and improve their quality of life. With island ecosystems facing threats from climate change, extinction, pollution and other crises, protecting these habitats and the wildlife they shelter is critical to the health of the planet.
Code Blue funds work which integrates environmental conservation with humanitarian assistance, improving education, health care, fresh water supply, and community resources. Seacology has created an innovative model of ecosystem preservation that is inexpensive, maintains indigenous land ownership, and improves the whole island community. Seacology implements solutions by asking islanders to identify a community need Seacology can support, such as building a school or providing a fresh water delivery system. In exchange, the community agrees to establish and manage a marine or terrestrial reserve. Code Blue Foundation works with Seacology to achieve these win-win situations, where both the local island habitat is protected and islanders receive some lasting benefit for their conscientious stewardship of the environment. A list of Seacology’s projects around the globe can be found here. Shari serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Seacology.
Code Blue is one of the early funders of the Cuba Conservancy, an Ocean Doctor program, which is built on 15 years of work of Ocean Doctor president, Dr. David E. Guggenheim who directs the program. At the core of Cuba Conservancy’s mission is to establish sustained collaboration between Cuba and the U.S. to:
Political realities have long prevented successful collaborative projects in Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean between Cuba, Mexico and the United States. These pristine reefs also hold clues as to what degraded Caribbean reef ecosystems might have been like decades ago, and what we can do to restore them. Recognizing the critical need for more scientific research and coordinated conservation activities in this region, Code Blue Foundation has helped to fund a series of conferences with representatives from all three countries through The Ocean Doctor.
As the community foundation for the ocean, The Ocean Foundation (TOF) unites innovators, implementers, and donors as they pursue multiple paths towards a healthy ocean future. TOF hopes to steer human interaction with the ocean and coasts toward that future by building a strong, vibrant and well-connected community of donors, grantees and projects that effectively responds to urgent issues and seizes on key opportunities for global marine conservation. TOF supports them with the best possible research, analysis, and services developed by its expert staff, advisors, senior fellows, and grantees. In addition, it is an innovator selling blue carbon offsets, and advising the first ever ocean-centric investment fund. With Code Blue Foundation support, TOF is proud to host many donor advised funds, seven pooled special interest funds and more than 50 projects around the globe, focused on protecting marine habitats and species of concern, building marine community capacity and expanding ocean literacy.
Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance working towards a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts. Plastic pollution is a global threat that the world community is just beginning to address. It is the nexus of eco-system degradation, public health and environmental justice. The greatest source of plastic pollution is disposable plastic items made specifically to be discarded, often after a single use.
Recycling is unable to keep up with the mountains of plastic consumed on a daily basis around the world. Even when incinerated, plastic persists as toxic particulate matter in the air. The public health and toxic impact of disposable plastics in the food chain have only recently begun to be explored and confirmed. Plastic pollution requires global collaboration, strategic thinking and disruptions to the status quo. Code Blue Foundation supports Plastic Pollution Coalition as a leader on this dire problem, with focus on creating viral behavior change such as through its internet-based Plastic Free Times, disruptive innovation, and global youth engagement.
For 50 years, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. Code Blue Foundation is a proud supporter of WWF’s unique way of working that combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.
The Coral Triangle covers almost 1.6 billion acres and is located in waters off the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The region is home to 3,000 species of fish, its waters host nearly 500 reef-building coral species, its shores provide nesting grounds for six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, and whale sharks and mantas feed, breed and migrate in these rich and sheltered waters. This abundant marine life is now at risk, due to unsustainable fishing, poorly planned development, pollution, a growing population and the effects of climate change. Code Blue Foundation has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to develop sustainable solutions that will both benefit local communities and this incredibly diverse marine habitat. Successful outcomes includes the expansion of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park by 157,000 acres, establishment of four wildlife management areas totaling more than 2,600 acres in Papua New Guinea, and launch of the Coral Triangle Initiative, which included commitments by six governments to safeguard marine resources.
“We have the rare opportunity, right now, to protect many of the most pristine seas around the world. Over the next five years, leaders can take concrete steps to create a natural legacy that all of us can enjoy.”
—Enric Sala, explorer-in-residence and Pristine Seas director
Code Blue funding to National Geographic supports the Pristine Seas program led by Enric Sala. Their mission is to help protect the last wild places in the ocean over the next five years (2014 to 2018). This includes not only preserving areas that are pristine or near pristine, but also helping to restore areas that may have suffered some human impacts but still harbor unique features such as large animals, healthy bottom communities, and outstanding biodiversity. Through their work, they strive to create large no take marine protected areas, and restore the health and resilience of unique ecosystems.
In early 2013, and again in 2015, more than 1,400 starving California sea lion pups stranded along the shores of Southern California. In coordination with the government’s response to this federally declared unusual mortality event (UME), Code Blue Foundation worked with the National Marine Mammal Foundation to help support the immediate need to rehabilitate the stranded pups and investigate the cause of this unprecedented event. Code Blue Foundation provided critical and immediate funding to support this investigation by government and non-profit scientists. Thanks to this rapid funding, scientists determined a likely cause of the UME– changes in the ocean environment led to offshore movement of critical fish stocks, which in turn, depleted nutrients necessary for females to support their nursing pups. This UME and investigation underscores the fragility of the ocean, in which a change in the environment can be a tipping point that changes fish stocks, leading to mass mortalities of marine mammals. Code Blue Foundation recognizes there is a need to protect our oceans and fish stocks to ensure a healthy ecosystem. Thanks to the private-public partnerships formed during this crisis, sea lion pup lives were saved and we are better-understanding the fragility and inter-connectivity of ocean’s health.