For Immediate Release
Kate DiRanna, mPRm Public Relations (323-933-3399)
Cindy Clark, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (858-534-3624)
Tom McCann, The Ocean Conservancy (202-429-5609)
Chad Nelsen, Surfrider Foundation (949-492-8170)
Hollywood Enters the Sea with
A New Partnership Puts the Ocean Crisis in the Spotlight
with the Truth about Ocean Decline
LOS ANGELES/LA JOLLA, CA. (February 25, 2003) -- Two-thirds of the
earth's surface is covered by oceans but despite their rapidly deteriorating
state, the issue is not even a blip on the public radar. Shifting
Baselines, a new partnership between marine biologists, ocean
conservationists, underwater cinematographers, and Hollywood filmmakers
has been formed to provide a single, clear description of the state
of ocean decline that is not limited by concerns about market share
or membership. The project is based on the recently coined term,
"shifting baselines." Today's launch of the Shifting
Baselines website at www.shiftingbaselines.org
is the first major event in what will be a slow-building media campaign,
which will also include a celebrity-driven public service announcement
"Shifting baselines is the slow-motion decline of our oceans
that's easy to overlook," says Dr. Randy Olson, filmmaker and
former marine biologist who is directing the campaign. "Ocean
decline has hit a point where it is the number one priority with
almost all of my marine biologist colleagues, and yet the general
public seems to have no idea of the severity of the situation. For
whatever reason, even the BBC chose to show the one episode of their
acclaimed series, "The Blue Planet" that dealt with human
impact on the oceans separately from the rest of the series, and
that episode did not even air in the U.S."
Gale Anne Hurd, producer of such classic Hollywood blockbuster movies
as Terminator and Armageddon knows of the problems well and is a
founding member of the project. Since producing the deep sea movie
The Abyss, she has been an avid diver, particularly fond of coral
reefs, but deeply concerned about their plight. "The destruction
and impact on coral reefs around the world is truly heartbreaking
and a very serious problem," she says. For the Shifting Baselines
campaign she recruited two of the biggest names in Hollywood special
effects, Industrial Light and Magic and Illusion Arts who donated
their resources to create computer animated "before/after"
sequences showing a coral reef and a kelp forest in 1960 versus
today. Both sets of images are key to the campaign and to understanding
the concept of "shifting baselines." They illustrate dramatically
what's changed -- the big fish are gone.
Another of the founding members of the project, Dr. Jeremy Jackson
of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Smithsonian Tropical
Research Institute, spent more than three decades studying coral
reefs in the Caribbean, but has now turned his focus towards alerting
the world of their demise. "Every ecosystem I studied is unrecognizably
different from when I started," he says. His landmark scientific
paper in Science magazine in July, 2001 drew worldwide attention
to the role of over-fishing in these problems. The paper was covered
in over 200 media outlets and contributed to his being appointed
to the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund.
The project is being sponsored through a partnership of The Ocean
Conservancy, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Surfrider
Foundation. The website launch is the first major event in what
will be a slow-building media campaign. It features a slide show
on shifting baselines (backed up with 30 pages of detailed information),
a four-minute video of the group's recent "Roundtable Discussion,"
and a one minute animation about the potential bleak vision of the
future ocean titled, "Jellyfish and Bacteria."
For more information visit www.shiftingbaselines.org.
For a printed transcript of the "Roundtable Discussion"
or video of the slide show and highlights of the "Roundtable,"
please contact Kate DiRanna, mPRm Public Relations (323-933-3399)