The ocean is a part of all of us. It lives in the fish we eat and in the air we breathe; half of all the oxygen on earth comes from the ocean, and so the ocean flows through us with every breath we take. It also connects us to each other - and that is why tip #16 is to remind you of the power of community. We all live in this crazy, beautiful world together and there is much we can achieve through collaboration. You can help by joining #theTide, or by participating in conservation efforts close to home. Look for people already doing good work and join in. If you run an organization, look for partners. #bethechange#conservation#community#ocean#TurningtheTide#19for2019
Rainforests like the one in Rwanda where I photographed this gorilla are the most biodiverse places on earth. They are home to more than half of the world's plants and animals species, and are tied to the cultural identities of the indigenous peoples that live there. In the 1950s rainforests covered about 15% of the earth's surface. Today that number is as low as 6%, and everyday we lose more of these precious ecosystems to deforestation and the long arm of industrialization. Tip #15 is to plant more trees. Forests rich and teaming with life are carbon sinks that help pull carbon dioxide out of the air - which would otherwise end up absorbed by the ocean and make them even more acidic. Supporting rainforest conservation is so important. You can make a difference by donating to organizations like @conservationorg. #19for2019#trees#gorilla#conservation#ocean
This image is a study in patience at the edge of the sea. I waited on the ice as the Arctic sun dipped below the horizon and the molten gold of sunset saturated the twilight. Knowing that his dogs and his village depend on his aim, Naimanngitsoq Kristiansen, a traditional Inuit hunter, also kept his patient watch, waiting for harp seals or walrus to come near. Naimanngitsoq depends on the seal and the walrus as they depend on the ocean; his ability to hunt can mean the difference between life or death. Patience is a necessary part of that process. When it comes to the conservation of our oceans - taking action is crucial, but it is important also to have patience and to trust that we can make a difference when we move forwards together. Tip #14 is to understand that conservation takes time. It is important to celebrate little wins everyday. #conservation#oceans#patience#celebrate#19for2019
When I slipped into warm waters of the Mexican Caribbean, I was greeted by a massive whale shark plowing toward me - its gaping mouth scooping invisible tunny fish eggs and plankton just below the water's surface. Despite the overwhelming urge to stroke the gentle giant as it passed, I kept both hands on my camera, cognizant of observing new and much-needed regulations in place to protect these sharks. This area in Mexico is a feeding ground for hundreds of whale sharks, which draws tourists who want to swim alongside these gentle giants. Recently, new regulations have been implemented in the area to protect whale sharks and educate both tourists and tour operators. Tip #13 for 2019 is to seek out and support local ecotourism practices and companies when traveling.
Tip #12 for 2019 is to educate and inspire others to follow in your footsteps by showing them the way. This is my son @mickmitty, feeding a giant tortoise during an expedition many years ago. He has grown up to become a world class botanist and plant collector. Know that every time you make a healthy choice for our world, you're making a healthy choice for yourself too. Teach your children to respect and love the natural world, and the world will thank you for it. Raise your kids to have open minds and to be citizens of the world, Teach empathy and tolerance; that is the best investment we can make in the future. As members of #thetide, I hope that you feel empowered to make a difference to the future of our oceans everyday with the changes that you can make at home.
In 2015, the provincial governor of West Papua laid the groundwork for establishing the world’s first ever “Conservation Province” (Province Konservasi), which would dedicate itself to protecting oceans and territories throughout West Papua, empowering local communities and maintaining sustainable development practices. For three years my friend @shawnheinrichs and @bluespherefoundation worked alongside @conservationorg to ensure the realization of this historic initiative by launching a campaign that engaged more than 25,000 people. Tip #11 in #19for2019 is to make your voice heard, and to trust that you can make a difference. Support causes that are important to you by spreading awareness, signing petitions and making donations where you can.
Things are not always what they seem. As I swam closer to this friendly group of sperm whales, I noticed with horror that one of them had what looked like a thick rope dangling from its mouth. You can imagine our panic as we surfaced. I shrieked for help, hoping that @_TomConlin, a whale disentanglement expert who was traveling with us would know what to do. Imagine my surprise, when all of a sudden, the thick rope surfaced near us. I am guessing that this thick rope was floating around in the ocean, like so much other discarded fishing gear, and this playful whale picked it up as a toy. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when it simply spat it out. Thankfully, it all worked out, but that got me thinking about how to step up our efforts to get rid of ocean plastics. Follow our friends at @lonelywhale to learn how we all can help tackle this massive challenge. @oceanplastic@lonelywhale@paulnicklen
The world's oceans - their temperature, chemistry, currents and life - drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals aim to manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. It will take awareness, followed by action that then becomes new habits and a new way of living. If we all do our part, big and small, we can achieve this goal. Our lives depend on it. What does sustainability mean to you? What do you want the world to look like in 2030? As an ambassador for the Global Survey, I encourage you to take a few minutes to complete the Global Survey, link in my bio, and help accelerate the process of change. Visit @globalsurvey17 to contribute your thoughts.
Around the world, coastal peoples like this team of fishermen in Ghana, depend on clean oceans as a source of income and food. We must stop the continued pollution of the oceans and help clean up the overwhelming amount of plastic and garbage littering our world. Tip #10 in @sealegacy's #19for2019 is to help alter the future of our oceans, our world, and our children by taking part in a beach clean up near you.
My time spent in, on and near the ocean has shaped the entire course of my life. In this photograph water breaks into spray against stone, and over time the rock is transformed by the pressure of the water that beats against it. Our lives are like that; as human beings we affect the ocean, and are influenced by it in turn. Tip #9 in #19for2019 is to visit the ocean and let it move you, as it has moved me, and will continue to move the world’s children for generations to come. I’d like to invite all of you to share with me your ocean stories by tagging @sealegacy. #19for2019
Did you know that our oceans once teamed with so many whales that during certain periods ships had difficulty navigating through them? Or that whales play a critical role in keeping our oceans healthy in facilitating carbon absorption? Today, their numbers are a mere shadow of their former glory and it is our responsibility to do all we can to protect these incredible, critically important species. Tip #8 in making 2019 the best year for our oceans yet: Be a responsible tourist and do not travel to Iceland until the government there stops supporting whaling. Iceland’s 2018 commercial whale hunt cost the ocean 146 whales. 146 sentient mammals that deserved better. It's officially our choice on what comes next—to live in a world where killing of whales is allowed, or not. #19for2019#TurningTheTide
Sockeye salmon travel up the Adam’s River, working tirelessly to reach their final destination so that they can successfully spawn and complete their life cycle. This journey upstream is incredibly treacherous, and in the past few decades we have seen the success rate of these salmon decline dramatically due to a variety of human activity such as fish farms. The waste and disease spreading to the ocean from open-net Atlantic fish farms are having a direct impact on wild Pacific salmon and their surrounding ecosystems. Many of us live as if there’s an abundant amount of wild fish readily available at all times. But our seafood consumption habits have a direct impact on the oceans. Tip #7 is to pledge to stop eating Atlantic farmed salmon. Support sustainable fisheries by making the conscious decision to buy sustainable seafood. See the link in my bio for information on how to ensure you are making the right choice.