Last Saturday, we kicked off the Bank Holiday weekend in style by taking part in an event in the fashionable Selfridges Department Store – home of luxury brands. For six weeks Selfridges has turned the store into an underwater paradise under the name of Project Ocean. The aim of Project Ocean is to raise awareness of how wonderful the marine environment is, and highlight some of the things that we can do as consumers to reduce the threats and pressures on marine wildlife and resources, such as fish. As part of the RSPB's marine campaign this summer, and as a supporter of Project Ocean, the RSPB hosted a marine-themed Family Fun Day.Albert the Albatross was there, directing customers to visit our display in the Ultralounge.
With a backdrop of vibrant live corals grown by the Zoological Society of London, not illegally taken from the wild, we set up our stall. We offered kids the chance to create their own 3D underwater world in a shoebox or make a seaside money box. While the kids were busy creating, we were able to tell them and their parents about our work to get better protection for marine wildlife and our campaign for marine protected areas (reserves at sea) to protect important sites at sea including the areas where seabirds forage. Being part of Project Ocean has given us a unique opportunity to tell our marine conservation story to a completely new audience in an exciting and innovative way.This was Selfridges after all – we were dealing with hardened shoppers, not your typical conservationists. But it is just these people we need to reach if we are to change attitudes and behaviour – and we were pleasantly surprised.We were kept busy all day, with customers keen to find out more about what we were doing to protect marine wildlife and add their support by signing our online pledge calling for seabirds to be properly protected at sea.You can sign it too by going to our website. Project Ocean finishes on the 8th of June, which is also World Ocean Day. So if you haven't been yet and you're in the London area, you should check it out. To find out what’s on go to the Project Ocean website.But while the current phase of the 'Project' might be over, Selfridges will continue to sell only sustainable fish in its store, and we will continue to campaign for better protection for marine wildlife. That battle still has to be won.
Today is the 19th World Oceans Day - a day to celebrate global marine conservation. Check out Martin Harper's blog today for some sobering facts on longline fishing, and find out how our Albatross Task Force (ATF) are working to end the bycatch and bring back many species of albatross from the brink of extinction. I like to think of the ATF as a brithday present to the world's oceans (though they work all year round of course!).
Will you give the oceans a birthday present this year? You don't have to brave the mountainous waves of the southern oceans aboard a smelly fishing boat like the ATF. You can help safeguard the seabirds around our coasts without leaving your seat, and you don't have to spend any money. You can show your support by calling for Marine Protected Areas (a network of reserves at sea) by signing our pledge today.
Go on, make the oceans happy today.
The amazing (and as Dawn French said, positively certifiable) Sarah Outen was made an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list on Saturday. Hats off to you Sarah, you really deserve the recognition. You raise funds and the profile of so many great causes (the RSPB being one of them - thanks!), and more than that, the unbelievably daunting adventures you tackle inspire so many others to do just that little bit more than we might otherwise have done. Its an honour to know you Sarah :o)
Photo (c) Jim Shannon
I know, its a corny title..... but hopefully it made you look!
Photo: jacintha castora photography, kindly supplied by Galapagos Conservation Trust
Today is Blue Footed Booby Day, a day to celebrate and raise funds to help protect these amusing birds and their most famous habitat, the Galapagos Islands. I was lucky enough to see blue footed boobies when I visited the Galapagos 5 years ago - an absolutely incredible opportunity that surely is a dream for anyone who loves wildlife. It has given me so many precious memories that I will value for the rest of my life, just as I had hoped.
So you may be surprised to learn that I did wonder whether I ought to go to the Galapagos - surely no-one in their right mind would turn down a chance like that? However, I am conscious that the Galapagos are a delicate ecosystem, and the biggest threat to the balance of that ecosystem is us. People. Invasive species such as rats, pollution, over fishing .... we are responsible for them all. Just being there adds to the impact on the environment. But tourism is a vital source of income that helps protect the natural wonders of those iconic islands too. Like most things in life, its not a black and white situation. (Or blue and white for that matter...)
This applies just as much to the seas that surround our shores, which contain an amazing array of fascinating seaife too. Protecting our natural wonders is pitted against our (ever growing) need for food, work, transport, and resources. It's is a huge, huge task to safeguard our sealife, but lots of small steps by lots of people make a big difference. You can choose sustainable seafood, organise a beach litter pick, sign our seabird pledge, and inspire others to do the same, to name but a few. So for boobies and basking sharks, sealions and seals, penguins and puffins, show some support for sealife today.