Sylvia Earle and Sam Low Win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue Debuts on Martha’s Vineyard by Martha Shaw

What do Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle and Sam Low all have in common? They have mastered the might of media on behalf of the sea.

The 2014 Walter Cronkite Award was bestowed on ocean all-stars Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Sam Low by the MVYLI, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, which honors people who create positive social change in the world through the power of media.

Like the award recipients, Walter Cronkite was a champion for the 71 percent of Earth’s surface that is the sea—our omnipotent, astonishing, complex, generous and sorely neglected neighbor who rules our planet and keeps us terrestrials alive. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has been polluted, and literally put through the meat grinder as never before in its 4 billion year history. Walter stirred the hearts of people, young and old, to take an interest not only in the beauty and bounty of our ocean, but in its health and future. The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes leaders who provide this level of inspiration to today’s youth.

Award recipient Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a world-famous ocean pioneer and former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has spent her life exploring the world’s oceans and sharing her boundless curiosity for what lies beneath the surface of sea—once a glass ceiling for women scientists. In 2009, she formed Mission Blue as a collaborative platform to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas large enough to save and restore the “blue heart” of the planet, known as Hope Spots.

“We are at the sweet spot of human history,” said Dr. Earle. “More has been learned about the ocean in the last decade than throughout all of human history. For the first time, we have access to information about our ocean as never before. Now we can actually do something. What will we do with this new knowledge? As a new generation that knows more than anyone has ever known before, what will you do with your future?”

“Walter Cronkite epitomized the spirit of what went up (to space) and what went down (to sea) and as a young scientist that inspired me,” said Earle. “I see his presence is still alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. I am honored to be receiving this award with Sam Low, who has offered such a boatload of information about the ocean to all of us. I bow low, to Sam Low.”

The co-recipient was Dr. Sam Low, an anthropologist and award-winning storyteller dedicated to island people in their quest to raise awareness of our planet’s fragility, of which islands are most vulnerable. His film, The Navigators—Pathfinders of the Pacific, and recent book,Hawaiki Rising—Hokule’a Nanoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, tell the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific and ancient mariners who use native intelligence and natural signs to navigate our ocean. Low has both Vineyard and Hawaiian roots, and will join a global voyage in an ancient Polynesian canoe with the Polynesian Voyagers Society to share and celebrate the ancient wisdom of the sea.

Following the awards presentation, young leaders from MVYLI remarked on how the ocean was bringing everyone together, particularly island people, and shared their ideas for creating a more sustainable blue planet.

At sundown, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival set up a big screen on Menemsha Beach to premiere Mission Blue, the remarkable and breathtakingly beautiful documentary about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life. The film was directed by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon, and Fisher Stevens, who followed Earle with their crew around the world ocean for more than five years. Island residents and summer visitors laid blankets on the sand to be among the first to see the film, before it goes up on NetFlix on Aug. 15.

Native Vineyard fisherman and advocate for sustainable fisheries, Buddy Vanderhoop, shared his admiration for the mission of Dr. Earle and his support for marine protected areas to allow the depleting local fish population to spawn and populate again, and to prevent massive fish factory ships from destroying what is left. Dr. Earle promised to return to Martha’s Vineyard and work together toward this, in light of NOAA’s recent invitation to communities across the nation to nominate national marine sanctuaries.


Saving our Seas: Tapping into the Wisdom of Ocean Elders by Martha Shaw

Saving our Seas – Tapping into the Wisdom of OceanElders
By Martha Shaw, OCEAN TIMES
(New York, NY) – For 10,000 years, the ocean has been the life support system that has generously supplied us with air, food, and shelter in the embrace of a livable climate. In a perfect world, human beings might have fit nicely into the Earth’s ecosystem, in balance with the rest of nature. Over the last half-century however, that’s not been the case. Since the industrial revolution, man’s effect on the ocean has been likened to an invasive species. Man’s greatest predator has quickly become man himself.
As a species, who will save the day?
One thing working against the ocean is that problems are out of sight, out of mind. Its wounds lie beyond and below our line of vision. Many people have never even seen it except on television, in books and movies, on menus, or in pictures on the packaging of ‘seafood.’ Of those who have seen the ocean, most only see a surface that glitters and shines, and splashes upon the shore in a spectacular show of white frill. What most of the population doesn’t see is that our ocean lies unprotected and exposed, subject to looting, polluting and plundering. As a result, we have depleted the ocean’s fish stocks by 90%, clogged it with trash, saturated it with chemicals, cranked up the temperature, and altered the acidity to the point where seawater is dissolving coral, cartilage and bone.
On a positive note, with new technologies and greater knowledge we now know more about the ocean than ever before. With the advent of these new tools, a woman named Gigi Brisson has become determined to make a difference. After an inspiring Mission Blue expedition with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in 2010, she decided to start something that would have the potential to reverse the ocean’s steady, if not alarming, decline. She developed a plan for how people of influence could pool their talents and resources in the best interest of the ocean, and founded OceanElders.
OceanElders combines science, business, philanthropy, art and star-power
Launched in 2012 with its first member Dr. Sylvia Earle, OceanElders now includes H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, James Cameron, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jose Maria Figueres, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young. Founder Gigi Brisson said, “These are people with power, experience, success and connections who are all passionate about the ocean and combining efforts to reverse its declining health. The plan is to grow over time and include individuals from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Central and South America.”
The hope is that the OceanElders can get things done together while everyone else is still talking about it, according to Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We used to think that the ocean was too big to fail. Now we’ve learned that it can. We are in a narrow window of human history when we have the knowledge and the technology to tackle these problems — just in time. It’s urgent. The next ten years can be the most important of the next 10,000.”


When asked about being an Ocean Elder, Ted Turner said, “OceanElders are older and supposedly wiser people trying to concentrate on solving the problems of the ocean.” Graeme Kelleher said, “It’s a group of people dedicated to saving the world ocean and the entire biosphere, including humanity. Sven Lindblad described the group as an aggregation of diverse influential voices that can collectively help shape ocean policy. Science advisor Dr. Greg Stone said, “It’s a committed group of people effecting change.” One of the earliest and oldest OceanElders, Captain Don Walsh described the group simply as people who can pick up the phone and do something, or stop something, as the case may be. There are rumors that more star power that can do just that will be added soon.
To date, OceanElders has been effective by partnering with global organizations to support ocean protection in the form of appearances, videos, Op-Eds and letters, including a letter to President Putin in support of Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Time is Now, OceanElders Summit 2014
OceanElders (OE) held a summit entitled The Time is Now on the eve of Climate Week 2014 in New York City. Colleagues, who shared the OE mission, gathered to meet one another with the intent to share wisdom and experience, explore new ideas and incite successful collaborations.
Speakers at the event emphasized the need to work together for a new global architecture for the high seas, the half of the world that is beyond national jurisdiction and lies unprotected. Trevor Manuel of the Global Ocean Commission and Dr. Sylvia Earle presented a poster to Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, reading “257,000 people from 111 countries want a new agreement for high seas protection.”
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, “There cannot be social economic development without resilient and productive oceans.” The Prince went on to say, “The Earth’s marine environment provides humanity with a number of important services ranging from the air we breathe, to food security and storm protection. These in turn underpin lives and livelihoods around the globe.”
In reference to one of the biggest problems that plagues the ocean, IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing), Under Secretary of State, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Catherine A. Novelli said, “It is only fair that we both level the playing field for honest fishermen and do everything we can to manage fisheries around the globe in a sustainable way.”
Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. shared the wisdom of his island’s ancient tradition of “bul,” which places a moratorium on fishing in order to replenish those stocks and maintain balance. In this tradition he has declared his country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a marine sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world. “We are on the brink when this free-for-all is coming to an end,” he said.
The event concluded with a brilliant performance by celebrated artist Norah Jones. Dozens of attendees then gathered at a nearby establishment to further the discussion.
Join the discussion
OceanElders invites everyone to join in the discussion at


Could a mass media campaign save the world?

Could a mass media campaign save the world?
United Nations CSD-19 prioritized sustainable consumption and production.

With hundreds of billions in media spent each year in hopes that we’ll consume more, how much media would it take for us to consume less?

Much of the discussion last week at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) focused on sustainable consumption and production, the reduction of waste, and the barrier that hazardous chemicals in products pose to recycling and disposing of refuse.

The household hazardous waste that we dispose of daily into our environment, including drain cleaners, antifreeze, poisons, pesticides, rodentcides, and the thousands of products we use to maintain our “beauty,” our toys, our lawns, and our homes are killing us. Yet, many of these products will be in greater demand as developing countries create wealth.

Some advertisers envision a future where everyone in the world can have shinier hair, whiter teeth, Febreeze, electric toothbrushes, and houses that are cleaner than clean. Economic growth in developing countries represents an opportunity to move marketing dollars toward more consumers.

One thing that everyone seemed to agree upon last week at CSD-19 was that consumption and waste is out of control, and destroying our own species as well as all the other ones. It was mentioned in one session that what we need most is a mass media campaign to change our attitude toward consumption. But, in the U.S.A. alone, we are bombarded by about $400 billion dollars in advertising a year, give or take a few hundred billion dollars. This investment is cleverly programmed, and psychologically crafted, to invade every nick and cranny of our lives and our identity, in the hopes that we will consume more.

How much would a counter media campaign cost? Who would pay for a campaign encouraging us to consume less? Can we ever get back to the good old days when we use fly swatters instead of sprays, and scrub dirt by hand rather than dissolve it with chemicals? Unlikely.

I am reminded of one of the best campaigns I can remember. It was from Canada. Buy Nothing Day.

Another topic last week was not about the abundance of hazardous waste and chemicals in our environment, but about the abundance of hazardous chemicals in our bodies. See video Body Burden. It is part of Safe Planet, a smart and innovative UN-initiated project in which celebrities, scientists, educators, and professionals from all walks of life, get their blood tested for toxic content. It’s actually easier to map out the chemical concentrations around the world through blood sampling than through soil, water and air testing. Another obstacle, some people pointed out, is that the chemical companies have paid representatives at the UN helping to create policy.

Some administrators are not keen to create a chemical scare, and this is understandable for many reasons. One reason sited was that women might choose not to breast feed their babies if they knew what was in their milk. There is “no research” to prove what products can lead to disease. And there is nobody to fund the research either. Coincidence?

So, what will a green economy look like? Some envision a world where more women would be in charge of the resources, consumers would begin to pay the true price of the products we discard, and companies would have to present a full life cycle plan for every item at their expense. More money would be spent on education than on advertising, wars, and useless stuff we don’t need.

Groups talked about how fast our electronics become obsolete. So do our weapons, our cars, our planes and the color of our nail polish. In terms of health, even that has become dependent on artificial sustenance with a huge waste footprint. Through modern medicine, we can live long enough now to consume exponentially more than our ancestors.

Making sense of it all is what kept the CSD-19 delegates up day and night. They are committed to creating a framework that will guide the world toward a green economy, the Land of Oz. But, who will fund a campaign that encourages us to “buy green, buy less or buy local” so we can build a sustainable green supply chain? Many of the delegates say they are counting on mankind to have a consciousness shift.

Earth Advertising marks a 10-year benchmark with new communication tools

by Martha Shaw

NEW YORK, Nov. 18 /CSRwire/ – Earth Advertising marks a 10-year benchmark with new communication tools: interactive CSR reports, web series, and games. (See “Selling Without Selling Out” web series trailer: above)

Earth, the ad agency best known for its supporting role in the growth of eco-preneurs, celebrates 10 years today at a time when sustainability marketing is booming. “At the beginning, we were the only green marketing agency in the U.S., according to Adweek.” said Martha Shaw who founded Earth’s studio eFlicks Media in 1999. “Now, corporate America is embracing environmental issues and that’s good for our entire industry. A rising tide floats all boats.”

With its 360° approach to pr and media, the agency has a history of hitting the sweet spot where creative messaging, brand authenticity and new media tools converge. That approach has worked to put many of today’s leading green companies, organizations and issues in the limelight, including clean technologies, organic foods, car concepts, and non-toxic household goods. Beyond commerce, Earth has worked to empower women scientists, support local living economies, and promote renewable energy.

Selling Without Selling Out: Eco-preneurs and Wall Street

A recent Earth Advertising e-series is Selling Without Selling Out. The web commentary features some of the most prominent environmental entrepreneurs of our time, sharing their challenges of gaining distribution, market share and capital. These often lead to mergers with multinational corporations, where contrasting priorities play out. These founders offer their experiences and discoveries. “Hold on to your principles and be willing to walk away from the deal,” says CEO and Founder Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, an organic producer and distributor of yogurt, milk and other dairy products. Selling without Selling Out also features the founders of Honest Tea, Odwalla, Dagoba, and other leading brands, including the board of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

CSR Reports: Corporate transparency, accountability and new regulations.

“CSR reports are a relatively new communications tool,” says Stuart Ross, Communication Director at Earth Advertising who came from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and has a history with corporate marketers including PepsiCo. “Increasingly, CSR reporting is becoming legally mandated. We can help clients get to where they want to be from a reporting standpoint, and then share their best practices with the world.” Regulators aren’t the only ones asking for CSR reports, all stakeholders are asking questions, he noted. Earth creates multi-media CSR reports that convert to video, web content, lobby and tradeshow displays, commercials, training tools, and interactive games for setting internal goals and measuring achievement.

A whole new language that explains and entertains with CSR.

CSR has its own vocabulary and it’s universal. As more companies share their best practices with the world, the greater the groundswell. CSR reports identify new metrics of sustainability, from impact, footprints, resource consumption, waste diversion, energy consumption, offsets and product lifecycle, and social and environmental justice.

The digital footprint.

One project of the firm is helping to measure the environmental impact of the industry itself. A friend of Earth Advertising, SustainCommWorld founder Lisa Wellman said, “Advertising can educate and inform, and can be a powerful driver for positive action – or not.” Don Carli, Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Communication is an advisor to Earth and agrees, “By its very nature, advertising itself calls into play a great deal of energy and materials. It’s good to see agencies like this taking it on.”

One of Earth’s media directors has been a producer of games for children since the first interactive products, bringing hundreds of interactive products to the marketplace for AT&T, Simon & Schuster and Paramount. “Earth has some interesting interactive projects in development that are proprietary,” says Diane Strack who believes in the power of gaming to create behavior shifts. “We’re in the early stages of one game that is competitive, reaps instant rewards and makes it fun to know about trash.”

New media partner for Green Drinks.

When commerce and environment come together, great things can happen. Earth Advertising is a founding member of SBNYC and media partner with Green Drinks, the watering hole of NYC’s green jet set that has been unifying the community for 8 years, and is now in 650 cities. The big holiday party is featuring the great aquanaut and heroine of the sea, Sylvia Earle. “We’ve been connecting people to collaborate on business, make friends, find jobs and experience moments of serendipity,” says Margaret Lydecker, Founder of Green Drinks NYC. “Don’t miss it on December 8th.”

Talented people join the agency to work on marketing they care about.

The company was formed to concentrate marketing experts and talent with common interests under one logo, including moms. This has meant creating an environment that has room for family.

Like others on the team, brand strategist Nancy Orem Lyman brings a wealth of experience from a career with multinational brands. “To work with companies and organizations just starting to embrace a sustainability agenda, and those who are leading the way, is rewarding.” says Nancy, who is also founder of the Women’s Climate Initiative. “When you take the power of advertising and apply it to brands and initiatives that motivate others, change can happen very quickly.”


Zmags is a leader in Interactive Collateral Materials and Management–reducing print and distribution costs while presenting content in an engaging format that is user-friendly. Zmags sample of Earth’s work”

Earth Advertising on JustMeans:

Shop Green Mall, green retailers pooling their resources and keeping cash in the community :