Immersive Mixed Media installation currently on display at National Geographic Encounter Times Square on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. The display features celebrities, scientists, journalists, artists, activists, authors, astronauts and youth voices for the Ocean.
The Nautilus Squid
We live on a water planet, yet I wonder how many of us actually see it that way? Water covers over three quarters of the planet’s surface and represents nearly ninety-eight percent of the livable volume and the majority of the air we breathe comes from the sea. Knowing this, a logical conclusion would be that mankind must do everything possible to protect this vital component of our home, when clearly our own survival depends on it. Instead we have treated our precious waters like a sewer, a place to throw chemicals, and trash. We have removed wildlife from the sea for centuries and destroyed entire ecosystems while conserving very little. I have always believed that the sea suffers the fate of being regarded as vast and deep with endless resources and bounty, yet I know that the reality is far different. She is resilient indeed, but will die a death from a thousand cuts unless we take bold steps to ensure her protection.
Brian Skerry, contract photographer for the National Geographic
Having been a message on a boatload of bottles (Plastiki) for four months, it excites me to see another innovative voice for our oceans step forward with a vision to give nature a voice. We are all creations of the ocean and we must all play our part to protect this fragile and vital lifeline that is Planet Ocean.
David De Rothschild, Adventure, Founder of Plastiki and the Lost Explorer, Conservationist
I submerge and the salt devours me, cleansing my sins through their perfect world.
I see thriving ecosystems. Untouched. Pristine.
For a moment I am a spectator slipping through their perfect world.
The ocean needs to breathe, nurture, give and to be.
Dugong (Dugong dugon) Shy and elusive, these gentle mammal populations have declined to the extent that they are now extinct in certain parts of their range. Their decline is largely due to anthropogenic influences such as incidental entanglement in nets, habitat degradation, boat and propeller strikes, and pollution. Dugongs are largely dependent on seagrass habitats for their nutrition so thus equal importance needs to be given to seagrass habitats when conserving dugongs.
Dr. Leela Rajamani Senior Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Unless something changes, there'll be more waste mass of plastic in the oceans than living mass of fish. Make that change!
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Silence! Ocean creatures cannot live with our bombs, blasts and bedlam underwater.
Jane Alexander, Actress, Author, Conservationist.
Oceans sustain life, but we are not doing enough to sustain them. While we have a system of national parks on land only 1.5% of our oceans are protected and even in these laws are often not enforced. We hope for a day where at least 10% of our seas are sacrosanct and truly protected.
Pete Knights, CEO of WILD AID
May I always treat the ocean like my most precious lover. It’s has my soul in the crest of it’s wave, there, is where I find my peace.
Captain Sandy Yawn, Below The Deck on Bravo!
Preserve the Best, Improve the Rest.
Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. President, Republic of Palau
Politics versus Preservation
With the current global uncertainty associated with shifts in geopolitics and globalization, it seems pertinent to re-assess our region’s collective engagement with the world and with each other – and to reassert our collective Pacific Regionalism as “The Blue Pacific”.
The Hon. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
Prime Minister of Samoa and Chairman, Pacific Leaders Forum
Art Deco Orcas
Transient orcas, who are at the top of the ocean's food chain, have the dubious distinction of being the most contaminated animal on the planet - over 1,000 times more contaminated than the average human being. This is due to humans polluting the ocean's food chain from the bottom up with PCBs, Dioxin, Flame Retardants, Mercury, and other toxic chemicals. Humans that subsist on a marine diet are now the most contaminated humans on the planet. What we do to nature, ultimately we do to ourselves. We must stop this madness!
Jeff Pantukhoff, President & Founder of Whaleman Foundation.
No Planet B
Restoration IS an alternative to extinction.
Mike Phillips, Executive Director of Turner Endangered Species Fund and State Senator, Montana.
The ocean has given me the simplest, purest moments of joy and connection to the planet that I've ever experienced.
John Amos, President and Founder of SkyTruth
They eat large fish, yet swallow them whole. If you look in its mouth there’s nothing. There are absolutely no teeth. Narwhals have no teeth. Nothing makes sense.
It is striking when you think that this animal decided to take all of its tooth-producing energy and put it into one thing [a tusk] that sticks out nine feet into the ocean. With the amount of energy that it takes to produce that one tusk it could easily have 30 to 40 teeth in its mouth doing other things. Evolutionary-wise something is saying don’t do this, instead it is better to grow this extraordinary tusk. A pretty compelling reason must be behind such a decision.
Martin Nweeia, New England dentist and member of the Smithsonian’s Department of Vertebrate Zoology and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Your lungs we breathe.
Your bounty sustains us
Your beauty inspires us
And your strength humbles us.
Suffocating your breath.
Desecrating your beauty
Annihilating your worth
Stirring your tempests.
Will our grandchildren forgive us?
James T. Movick ,Director-General, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency of the Solomon Islands and his daughter Louisa Movick, Law Student and Activist.
Significance of the Sea
When I look out to sea I am overwhelmed by its vastness and its might. The ocean is indifferent to our being, a reminder of our significance and that we are neither the beginning nor the end but only a momentary waypoint along the path of time.
Peter Borchert, Author, Journalist, Founder of Untold Africa and Africa Geographic.
Sea cucumbers (Class Holothuroidea: Phylum Echinodermata) have for thousands of years been traded throughout Asia, fetching a high value due to biomedical research market, and food industry. The high demand for sea cucumbers and the lack of appropriate fishery and trade management have resulted in the chronic overexploitation and depletion of their population densities in marine ecosystems.
Ronald D Olavides, Marine Biologist, Ecologist
As our own origin stems from the sea to which we are all called, to watch the fossil transition from a hippo like creature to the most colossal animals to have graced to earth is to marvel at our own story. To venture into the sea, to watch the nostrils move up the skull over millennium into the blowhole, the ears shrinking and legs present but soon to be abandoned and slowly absorbed in a most beautifully awkward fashion, the spine stretched, and tail fortified to give rise to one of the beasts of the ancient seas. While formidable in their day, Protocetus paved the way for this journey to the grace and peace we paint Mysticeti with. It’s why we are captivated by whales. To wander into the unknown, the violent and struggling predatory early ocean, and to arrive one day on the other side as a portrait of natural ease; a gentle giant. We see their story and it is our own.
Will Boyajian, Founder of Hopeful Cases.
Within the Roots
Despite their tiny coverage in the planet, mangroves provide some of the most important benefits for oceans and humans. They protect our coasts areas from erosion and provide fisheries for millions of people. We must stop their deforestation.
Dr. Octavio Aburto, Marine Biology Asst. Prof At Scripps, Director of the Gulf of California Marine Program, Explorer.
The plastic waste is drowning the planet, it is an undeniable reality that the marine fauna is dying by ingestion of plastic and very soon we all have to stop eating seafood and the governments and businessmen would seem not to realize the serious problem. It is time to undertake effective awareness campaigns, to invest resources in the excellent business of recycling plastics, to subsidize those who invest in these collection businesses. In 2018 we have elections, we also have independent conservation projects. It's time to act friends and we'll do it!
Roberto Llerena Arce, Fundacian Nautilus
The ocean is my home and my church ... it's the place where my soul lives.
Catharine Cooper, Conservationist Author and Photographer
This Blue Planet
It is time for people throughout the world to take stock and understand the value of our oceans. Not only are our oceans the lifeblood of our planet, but beyond that, the beauty of what lies beneath the surface is incredible. Let’s all play our part in protecting the big blue and helping to save not only our marine life but our planet for future generations to enjoy. Claude Ringuet & Yvonne Yee Ringuet, Owners – Thisblueplanet
In 2010 I coordinated designation of the Charlie Gibbs MPA, one of very few High Seas protected areas and home to weird and wonderful deep-sea creatures like the acom worm (Yoda purpurata).
Prof David Johnson, Coordinator of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative and former Executive Secretary to the OSPAR Commission.
Disruptions induce Risks
We are indebted to all who have worked so tirelessly on behalf of our oceans, but for their efforts to succeed we must take a long and holistic view of our most precious resource. Species loss at any point in the web of marine life creates a disruption that puts all of us all at risk.
Angela Schuster, Editor-of-Chief, The Explorer’s Journal
The quandary we are in has been borne from the misconception that nature and the sea are to be feared and conquered. As a result, we've polluted her and turned away from the truth of our deep connection. It's time we shift the paradigm and reconnect to what the oceans really are- inspiration, wonder and life.
Lawrence Curtis, Film Maker, Cinematographer and Owner of Curtis Films Inc.
The Five Rs
Marine animals, humans, and the oceans are interconnected. A marine animal stranded on the beach has a lot to teach us about wildlife health, ecosystem health, and even human health. That’s why I believe stranding response, including rescue, rehabilitation, release, and research, is so important.
Kathy Zagzebski President & Executive Director The National Marine Life Center
The Original Womb
The Ocean is simultaneously familiar the origin of all life.... the womb of our shared planet and she yet fantastical and mysterious still undiscovered like outer space on Earth.
Mara G. Haseltine, Artist, Ocean Advocate.
Let’s change the World!! Let’s make the world a better place for all of us…and for many generations to come. Aqualise can only recommend this fantastic installation by Asher Jay and hope to see more projects like this one helping the future of our oceans. The ocean is the source of all life, let’s work together to preserve and care for our oceans and sea-life for future generations.
Nicolas Bulostin, CEO and Founder of Aqualise
The Golden Seaweed
The mounds of sargassum on beaches posed a serious solid-waste problem for the tourism industry and was described in a New York Times article called “Where’s The Beach? Under the Seaweed.” Not only do the excessive sargassum strandings cause problems for tourism, they also impact biodiversity, biogeochemical cycling and fisheries habitat, potentially forming “dead zones” (hypoxic or anoxic conditions) in coastal ecosystems such as mangroves.
Brian Lapointe, Ph.D, Marine Ecologist
We're not small isolated islands - we are large ocean states stewarding huge ocean resources, particularly our fisheries stock. To sustainably manage these resources we have to see ourselves differently and appreciate that the strength of the Pacific is the collective."
Dame Meg Taylor, Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Secretary General, Pacific Island Leaders Forum
Every Second Breathe We Take
We are part of the ocean, so if the oceans die we die with them; so marine conservation is essential for our own survival. Every second breath you take comes from the ocean, so if you are against marine conservation you are only allowed to breathe from 9 am to 9 pm and the rest of the 12 hours you have you cannot breathe at all.
Dr Sarah Frias-Torres, marine biologist, oceanographer and behavioral ecologist, post-doctoral fellow at ORCA, producer of “Ocean Minute” (Radioshow.)
The Oceans are to me a source of infinite inspiration. They give me a sense of meaning, direction, and harmonious balance. Gracious but rebellious, gigantic but fragile, mysterious but familiar, and endless but finite. They replenish my soul and life with empathy, joy, and a deep sense of inner wellbeing.
Sergio de Mello e Souza, Entrepreneur, Activist, Founder of Strategic Business Alliances.
Cenotes, Fossils, Mayan History
There used to be hard limits on how many people could be brought in on a given day into a particular cenote, but now these tours bring in 3 or 4 times the originally assessed capacity of foot traffic. They have also shortened the duration of each tour, from 2 hours, to just 45 minutes within the actual cave system. This means tourists only have enough time to click photo ops in lieu of actually learning something about them. People not knowing about the cenotes, is why it is so hard to protect them.
That’s probably why the Maya understood the connection between these sacred underground pools and life on earth. We uncover a lot of incredible archaeological finds when we comb the cenotes, from ceremonial wares to entire temple ruins. So truly these submerged caves are cultural legacy sites for Mexico. The government needs to be protecting our history and heritage. When recreational cave divers go in unmonitored, it also results in the looting and improper documentation of our past.
By inspiring the next generation of Mexicans to take pride in and care for this incredibly rare and priceless asset, through youth outreach and education! We have already begun assembling a team of students and professionals to better document our cenotes, so we can tell people exactly why it is important to conserve them and develop responsibly around them. Right now they are being misappropriated, misused, treated as landfills and filled in for parking lots. If we alert enough people locally, we can stop this from being the story.
Guillermo De Anda, Director of Special Projects for Subaquatic Archaeology at Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) and National Geographic Explorer.
ASHER JAY, ARTIST AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER 365 Mixed Media Plastic Bottles Immersive Soundscape Installation Ca. 10 Ft x 15 Ft x 25 Ft Jay was inspired to create this work by Sting’s song “Message in a Bottle,” which she heard during a beach clean-up. 365 Bottles, each otherwise a piece of trash, one for each day that it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun --- a revolution of bottles to seed a revolution of change. Personalized messages are written and “sound--scaped” into the installation’s ambient environment to create a “bait ball” of voices from celebrities, scientists, and conservationists, united to make an ocean of difference.
Exhibit currently on display in Times Square, New York City at National Geographic Encounter, 226 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036.