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.


The guts to change the world: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011 “Conversations on Courage” results in hundred of commitments to do good

The guts to change the world: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011 “Conversations on Courage” results in hundreds of commitments to do good.

NEW YORK, Sep. 22 /CSRwire/- Courage may hold the most hope for mankind as we face a future wrought with complex problems of all kinds that can appear insurmountable. This is the underlying theme of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011, concluding in New York City today. Over 1200 global leaders and concerned citizens from government, business, communities, and not-for-profits, gathered at CGI 2011 this week to tackle the most pressing issues of our time, focusing on commitments to support job creation, fuel a green economy, promote sustainable consumption and, last but not least, bring social justice to women and girls.

What role does courage play in saving the world? CGI 2011 “Conversations on Courage” stresses how we cannot solve the problems of the world using the same kind of thinking that has caused them. It takes courage to think differently, stand up, speak out, set aside grudges, sacrifice profits, overturn customs and traditions, retool systems, and change habits that are deeply entrenched in culture. Inherent in courageous acts is the risk of losing what is near and dear to us personally, for the better good. Yet, courage is the one inexhaustible resource readily available to everyone.

Inspired by a who’s who of world leaders including President Barack Obama who appeared yesterday, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011 “Conversations on Courage” urges its member attendees to support social heroes and brave deeds in their industries and in their communities. Each member makes a Commitment to Action to address a major local or global challenge with the help of CGI.

Today, on the 149th anniversary of Lincoln’s announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, MTV’s college network has launched ‘mtvU’s Against Our Will’, a project to empower America’s college students to stop modern day slavery in the U.S. In partnership with Polaris Project, GEMS, and Free the Slaves, the campaign will raise awareness about sex and labor slavery, encourage activism, reduce demand for products and services linked to slavery, and promote volunteerism in support of trafficking survivors and at-risk youth.

Another new global partnership has been announced by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to end tens of millions of forced child marriages that deny young girls of education and freedoms. The Elders, the Ford Foundation, the Nike Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation have committed to jointly establish ‘Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage’ and see it grow to a membership of at least 150 organizations running programs in at least 20 countries by December 2012.

PepsiCo, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have committed to develop an innovative market-based solution to economic, food, and nutritional insecurity in Ethiopia.

United Nations Foundation, in collaboration with public and private partners, has committed to launch a new US-based campaign to expand access to vaccines for children in the developing world.

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) has committed to scaling Skillz Street, a program that will positively impact 12,500 girls in southern Africa to address gender-specific challenges and HIV prevention through non-competitive soccer.

Samasource, a social enterprise known for its innovative solutions to bring jobs to 1500 women, youth, and refugees across the globe, has committed to extend its reach to America.

eBay Foundation has committed to launch The Opportunity Project, a global initiative designed to support and help scale market-based approaches to providing economic opportunity in vulnerable communities.

Walmart has committed to develop a marketplace on the company’s e-commerce site to link women-owned businesses around the world to consumers.

Darden has committed to helping rebuild troubled fisheries through the creation of an alliance of companies, NGO’s and other groups to support targeted fishery improvement projects (FIPs).

Waste action groups and corporations have instituted programs to reclaim waste, addressing the fact that every second, over 50 tons of trash is deposited in landfill, oceans, and streambeds worldwide. The Ocean Recovery Alliance announced progress on its 2010 CGI commitments to report, rate and map floating trash, and a call for corporate reporting of plastic use and management policies.

International Justice Mission (IJM), in collaboration with public and private partners, has committed to increase the quantity and quality of Public Justice System-initiated anti-trafficking operations in a metropolitan sex trafficking hub in Southeast Asia.

Apne Aap Women Worldwide and the Rose Collar Foundation has committed to provide intensive and holistic support to ten women in prostitution, transforming their lives and the lives of women in their communities by providing access to sustainable livelihoods and breaking the cycle of exploitation.

A complete list of these acts of courage by topic and region will continue to be posted here.

The topic of courage persisted throughout the week, and what courage means in modern day society when we are defending our whole species as much as our own families.

There may be no better example of the courage to act on one’s convictions than Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy, who was imprisoned or under house arrest for a combined 15 years since she returned to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in 1988. At CGI on Wednesday, television host, Charlie Rose, moderated a conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Suu Kyi. “All journeys are made step by step,” said Suu Kyi via satellite. “To be quite honest, I didn’t think when I first started out in the movement for democracy, I’d have to devote my whole life to it.” Desmond Tutu concluded the interview by calling for a ‘mutual admiration’ society.

Since CGI was founded in 2005, members have made nearly 2000 commitments that have improved the lives of nearly 300 million people in more than 180 countries.