Mission Blue is far more than just your average Netflix Documentary. It is a movement of conservation that Dr. Sylvia Earle - an oceanographer, scientist, author, and lecturer has devoted her life to. Having grown up with a portion of the Gulf of Mexico right in her backyard, she has witnessed firsthand how the oceans have drastically changed during one single lifetime, and not surprisingly for the worse.
Earle has experienced what many of us have not. Having spent thousands of hours underwater, she knows better than anyone that our oceans are dying. We have this seemingly unanimous belief that the oceans are so big, vast, and resilient that it truly doesn't matter what we do to it. However, this is a huge misconception as the biggest threat is that there are far too many people, and our appetites are out of control.
Now, the big question of "why should we care?" remains.
Simply put, without our oceans, we would have no convenient life support system. Our Planet Earth would look like Mars 2.0. Additionally, most of the oxygen we breathe is generated by our oceans. So, if you want to get technical, the reason we should care about the conservation of our oceans is because without our oceans, there would be no life and there would be no us. More importantly, I believe we should all have a moral obligation to protect what has protected us for centuries. Dr. Earle argues that reversing the damage is possible as she states, "in the same way that humans have the ability to consciously shift the balance of the Earth, which we’ve done, we also have the capacity and capability of stopping it." It is never too late to make a difference. We have the power to make things right.
So, what is Mission Blue?
Mission Blue is a call to protect the ocean in the same way we now protect the land. About 12% of land around the world is now protected but only a fraction of 1% of the ocean is fully protected globally. This statistic is alarming and if anything should spark a fire in each of us to help contribute to this global crisis. What we do to the ocean comes back to us in bigger, stronger, and more frequent storms as we've witnessed within the past few decades. It is imperative that we do our part to ensure a turnaround while also putting pressure on our governments and world leaders to do the same. Currently, Australia is a leader in terms of establishing protection for the sea. They recognize that being an island nation, they are not just surrounded by water but connected to it. It's part of their fabric, integral to who they are and the environment. The Australian government has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to manage ocean habitats while also hoping to reduce emissions. In the Netflix Documentary, Mission Blue, identifying hope spots puts us one step in the right direction. Scientist and conservationist, Dr. Tessa Hempson defines hope spots as being places in the ocean that have been identified as really critical sites that are important for conserving the future of our oceans. These are locations that could have special habitats or unique species. Hope spots could also be allocated for species that are endangered or places that have unique processes (like a breeding site for a particular species). Most notably, hope spots are especially chosen sites that thru conserving them, have the potential to give the rest of our oceans a good chance at surviving.
Being equipped with this information is not enough. However, it provides us with a strong foundation to share this knowledge with others and furthermore take the desired action to help overcome this global crisis.
"It isn't too late to take the best hope we will ever have of having a home in this universe. To respect what we've got, to protect what remains, don't let any of the pieces escape." - Sylvia Earle