June 19, 2012

Ocean Movement Surfacing. {Boulder Event} ~ Michael Sobczak

Ocean Frontiers

Ocean Movement

There is an Ocean Movement surfacing all across the land. People are becoming more concerned about protecting our ocean surrounding us.

Back in Rachel Carson’s days, during the 195os and early 1960s, the ocean was seen as an enormously vast body of water untouchable by human hands. Today we are beginning to think differently. We see the effects of day after day after day of the stream of human contaminants reaching our ocean waters.

In Colorado, the Colorado Ocean Coalition is helping make people living a mile high or so above the seas more aware of the ocean’s importance. From coast to coast and points in between, all kinds of people are joining the movement. Be it in places like Port Orford, Oregon, off the coast of Massachusetts, in the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico down stream of places like Iowa and Colorado.

And in places like the concrete jungles of New York City, modern high tech pioneers, like Academy Award winning animator of Avatar Andy Jones, are working on educating people across the lands about our treasured oceans through “the Blu”—a new way to experience the underwater world.

In the heartlands, in the high mountain areas, along our coasts people of diverse backgrounds are seeking to become more educated about our ocean and solve real life problems together as part of this Ocean Movement.

Ocean Frontiers

Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship” is an independent film via Green Fire Productions (founded in 1989), thanks in large part from a grant by the Campbell foundation for the environment (a private foundation).

Karen and her husband Ralf Meyer designed, researched and directed/produced the film. Says Karen Anspacher-Meyer,

The film takes audiences on an inspiring voyage to seaports and watersheds across the country. From the busy shipping lanes of Boston Harbor to a small fishing community in the Pacific Northwest, from America’s coral reefs in the Florida Keys to the nation’s premier seafood nursery in the Mississippi Delta where we meet a number of unlikely allies who are all working on a new approach to ocean management and new course of cooperation in defense of the seas that sustain us.

Solution oriented stories speak to real problems people are facing. Through the many examples in the film, a future of  collaboration to get the best gains is clear to Karen Meyer.

Karen hopes that people who see the movie learn from today’s ocean pioneers, getting ideas from them and find a sense of hope that solutions are possible. She sees people from very different areas working together–escaping from “the us vs, them” mentality –and discovered people can have a positive impact upon our Ocean.

Karen Meyer finds sincerity in such pioneers as Billy Causey, SE Regional Director, as he makes connections in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and his  often said words of inquiry, “What can I do locally and what can I do regionally and how can I influence what’s happening on a global scale?” The film talks of a common sense approach of preserving life through ecosystem management and ocean planning.

Karen Meyer positively points to the new National Ocean Policy, the outcome of two commissions: the Pew Ocean Commission and US Commission on Ocean Policy. A policy whose core approach, the first lady of Oregon (Cylvia Hayes) and her colleague (Leesa Cobb) purport,“. . . is to improve marine stewardship by directing government agencies with differing mandates to work together better.”

To learn more about this blossoming movement to take better care of the ocean and  a new philosophy of marine stewardship of prosperity through preservation, all are invited to the movie’s premier in Boulder, Colorado June 21st  at the Diary Center for the Arts (2590 Walnut St. #1, Boulder). Blue Drinks 5:30-7 p.m. Movie starts at 7.

Watch the trailer:

The Meyers want to make people aware of how to host an event. Check out “host a screening” at  http://ocean-frontiers.org/host-a-screening/ .


The Blu 

In New York City’s Time Square on May 4, the Blu” was officially launched to the public.

The original idea for the Blu was conceived 12 years before by Co-founders Neville Spiteri, CEO of Wemo Media (Credits incl. Apollo 13, Medal of Honor and Terminator), and Scott Yara (Co-founder of Wemo Media and Senior V.P. with Greenplum). They actively started working on the project only within the last 2 years. It is a multi year project in its infancy.

The Blu is an online application to socially explore our beautiful underwater world. Its co-founder, Neville Spiteri, says,

The Blu is an experience. It’s an experience inspired by the ocean. It’s a experience you engage in online on your computer. Turns the internet into a 3-D underwater world where  as an individual you can connect with other people around the world also diving into the Blu in this social exploration of the ocean.

Forbes Magazine writes, “The Blu is a global mission to create—on the web—an interactive world where every species and habitat is a unique work of art created by digital artists and developers around the world, as a social online experience.”

The Blu celebrated World Oceans Day, June 8, with the release of Big Blu–a whale created by Academy Award winning Andy Jones–swimming around the world.  Andy Jones won an Oscar for his work as the Animation Director of the movie Avatar.

“Out of sight, out of mind,”  Jones explained is perhaps how most people view the ocean. He thinks the ocean is extremely important. “Without the oceans we wouldn’t be here,” he says.

The award winning animator sees the Blu as part of the Ocean Movement. He hopes to educate people and help them see what makes the ocean work. His role with the Blu is as an animation consultant fielding questions by the many contributing artists, working on the artificial intelligence of the fish, and overseeing the animation assets.

Andy loves looking at fish. He has been in love with ocean since the age of five, watching Jacque Cousteau. He remembers snorkeling and being out in the ocean for hours and hours.

He just couldn’t get back out of the water. He would be exploring every crevice. He just loved to look at the sea life…seeing how strange it looked. Years later and after living in Hawaii, Andy honeymooned in the warm water reefs of Bora Bora with his bride—exploring the many species living there new to him.

Andy Jones went to UCLA with the Blu’s other co-founder Scott Yara, and introduced Scott to Neville. The three of them spent quality time diving together in the Pacific.

Why should people be interested  in the Blu? Andy Jones, Neville Spiteri and John K. Bates, the Blu’s Evangelist, cite numerous reasons.

Adults find it of interest. Kids often push their parents aside and speedily pick up the in’s and out’s faster.  The Blu is beautiful and relaxing, and many utilize it as a screen saver. It is an educational device and high schools to museums like the Smithsonian and higher education schools such as Scripps are taking interest.

There is also a donation aspect where people buy fish for their marine habitats and monies are given to the creating artist donated and various organizations to help protect the marine life. And this is a global art project with hundreds taking part and the potential for thousands of artists to join in.

Neville Spiteri quotes Sylvia Earle saying, “You have to know something before you can care about it and respect it.”  And the Blu’s goal is to “Raise awareness and instill a sense of awe and wonderment and appreciation for the ocean.”

See the Making the Blu video:


Inland Ocean Movement

And along side the Ocean Movement, an Inland Ocean Movement exists in places like Colorado where the Colorado Ocean Coalition is setting the pace as a role model for other states says Ocean Frontiers’ director Karen Anspacher-Meyer. Added organizations such as Sea Shepherd has a  high mile presence with a Colorado Chapter too.

Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO)’s founder and Director, Vicki Nichols Goldstein,  believes “Strong partnerships are key in moving the ocean movement forward, especially in the middle of the country.” She thinks, the whole movement is driven by awareness, engagement and subsequent action.

Vicki Goldstein expresses a strong interest in such educational tools as the Blu in educating people in land locked areas hundreds and in Colorado’s case a thousand miles away from the ocean’s waters. She also says films like “Ocean Frontiers” allow COCO to reach out to the community–having  a time to network at Blue Drinks, the show the film and engage in a Q&A after the film to bring home the message of working together for our Ocean and providing added opportunities for further action.

Sea Shepherd’s Colorado Chapter has also been active along Colorado’s front range and elsewhere. When Captain Paul Watson, their founder, was recently arrested in Germany in the middle of May, they were active in numerous Free Captain Watson awareness events. They hosted a fundraising event that brought out hundreds of people just before Captain Watson left for Germany. Their Colorado Coordinator and on-shore volunteer staff helped spread the word and educate those interested in joining a Sea Shepherd campaign on the High Seas.

Check them out at www. SeaShepherd.org and on Facebook.

And let’s not forget to help Free Captain Watson, who is still in Germany, on bond, waiting extradition to Costa Rica. Captain Watson is a hero, a true Ocean Warrior for our oceans and the wildlife found within.


Michael Sobczak is a writer living in Boulder, Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. He has a strong interest in environmental issues both locally and in the surrounding world.


Editor: Ryan Pinkard


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