Unesco Green Citizens

Pristine Seas Protection Project

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Project begin: 01/07/2009

Committed to protecting the environment, Enric Sala has used a unique combination of expeditions, scientific articles and stories to inspire the creation of 22 marine reserves around the world.

Leading organisation: National Geographic Society
The country where the team is based: United States of America
Theme: Biodiversity, Local and Indigenous Knowledge, Ocean
Sub-themes: Climate change, Coastal resource management, Environment, Natural resource management, Natural resource management, Ocean education, Protecting marine ecosystems
Selection: 2020/2021
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In search of financial partners
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Overexploitation and climate change are dramatically reducing the ocean’s capacity to provide essential natural resources. Yet only 7% are currently protected.

To explore, document and protect our oceans, Enric Sala left academia to become a National Geographic Explorer and launch Pristine Seas. Combining exploration, research and stories, this programme encourages leaders to protect the natural ecosystems on which the oceans rely.

Local actions for a global impact

Over the latest 10 years, the Pristine Seas team has carried out 31 expeditions, published more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific articles and produced 22 documentaries. And this has already had a big impact. With support from partners and local communities, 23 vast marine reserves have been created covering more than 6 million km2— more than twice the size of India.

Locally, these reserves enable a more sustainable approach to fishing, the continuity of cultures and traditional ways of life, new ecotourism opportunities, better coastal storm protection, greater food security and more secure livelihoods. At a global scale, they help mitigate the impact of climate change by storing CO2 in the oceans and protecting biodiversity.

Pristine Seas is determined to see 30% of the world’s oceans protected by 2050. Would you like to help the team achieve this?


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