By Enric Sala
The sun is rising shyly between dark gray clouds behind the island of Baltra, and the sea is as calm as it gets.
This is the Galapagos, the place where Charles Darwin conducted key observations that later shaped his theory of natural selection.
National Geographic video feature about the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos changed our understanding of the world. But now we are changing the Galapagos–by illegal fishing, human population growth, and invasive species–as we are changing the rest of the ocean. We are taking too much out of it–seafood–and throwing in what we don’t want–our sewage and garbage.
I am here with an extraordinary group of individuals–scientists, artists, conservationists, business people–to discuss some of these issues and foster ideas to help save our ocean.
We are based on the National Geographic Endeavour ship, and we are hosted by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design–a series of conferences based in Long Beach to spread good ideas).
This ocean conference–Mission Blue–is part of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle’s “TED Wish,” an award she received in 2009. Her wish is to see the creation of global network of marine protected areas. Her wish is our wish; this is why we all are here.
We start today with a series of stimulating talks and a dive in the warm waters of the Galapagos. I can’t wait to tell you what I see, and what I hear.
Marine Ecologist Enric Sala is a National Geographic Fellow. A 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, and a 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he also received the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities with National Geographic. Sala’s experience and scientific expertise contributes to his service on scientific advisory boards of environmental organizations.
Lifegiving Power of the Sea
“We have learned more about the ocean in the last half century than in all of preceding history,” says Sylvia Earle, marine biologist. “But at the same time, more has changed.” Read the full interview.
National Geographic Galápagos Islands Photo Gallery