Sylvia Earle and Sam Low win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue film debuts on Martha’s Vineyard

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Sylvia Earle and Sam Low win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue film debuts onMartha’s Vineyardby Martha ShawEdgartown, MA (August 7) – What do Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle and Sam Lowall have in common? They have mastered the might of media on behalf of thesea.The 2014 Walter Cronkite Award was bestowed on ocean all-stars Dr. SylviaEarle and Dr. Sam Low by the Stone Soup MVYLI, Martha’s Vineyard YouthLeadership Initiative <> , which honors people whocreate positive social change in the world through the power of media.Like the award recipients, Walter Cronkite was a champion for the 71% ofEarth’s surface that is the sea – our omnipotent, astonishing, complex,generous and sorely neglected neighbor who rules our planet and keeps usterrestrials alive. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has beenpolluted, and literally put through the meat grinder as never before in its4 billion year history. Walter stirred the hearts of people, young and old,to take an interest not only in the beauty and bounty of our ocean, but inits health and future.  The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes leaders whoprovide this level of inspiration to today’s youth.Award recipient Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a world-famous ocean pioneer andformer chief scientist at NOAA who has spent her life exploring the world’soceans and sharing her boundless curiosity for what lies beneath the surfaceof sea – once a glass ceiling for women scientists. In 2009, she formed<> Mission Blue as a collaborative platform toignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas largeenough to save and restore the “blue heart” of the planet, known as HopeSpots.“We are at the sweet spot of human history,” said Dr. Earle. “More has beenlearned about the ocean in the last decade than throughout all of humanhistory. For the first time, we have access to information about our oceanas never before. Now we can actually do something.  What will we do withthis new knowledge? As a new generation that knows more than anyone has everknown before, what will you do with your future?”“Walter Cronkite epitomized the spirit of what went up (to space) and whatwent down (to sea) and as a young scientist that inspired me,” said Sylvia.“I see his presence is still alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. I amhonored to be receiving this award with Sam Low, who has offered such aboatload of information about the ocean to all of us. I bow low, to SamLow.”The co-recipient was Dr. Sam Low <> ,  ananthropologist and award-winning storyteller dedicated to island people intheir quest to raise awareness of our planet’s fragility, of which islandsare most vulnerable.  His film, The Navigators – Pathfinders of the Pacific,and recent book, Hawaiki Rising – Hokule’a Nanoa Thompson and the HawaiianRenaissance, tell the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific andancient mariners who use native intelligence and natural signs to navigateour ocean.  Sam has both Vineyard and Hawaiian roots, and will join a globalvoyage in an ancient Polynesian canoe with the Polynesian Voyagers Societyto share and celebrate the ancient wisdom of the sea.Following the awards presentation, young leaders from MVYLI remarked on howthe ocean was bringing everyone together, particularly island people, andshared their ideas for creating a more sustainable blue planet.At sundown, the Martha <> ’s Vineyard Film Festival set upa big screen on Menemsha Beach to premiere Mission Blue<> , the remarkable andbreathtakingly beautiful documentary about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life. The filmwas directed by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon, and Fisher Stevens, whofollowed Sylvia with their crew around the world ocean for over five years.Island residents and summer visitors laid blankets on the sand to be amongthe first to see the film, before it goes up on NetFlix<>  on August 15th.Native Vineyard fisherman and advocate for sustainable fisheries, BuddyVanderhoop, shared his admiration for the mission of Dr. Earle and hissupport for marine protected areas to allow the depleting local fishpopulation to spawn and populate again, and to prevent massive fish factoryships from destroying what is left. Dr. Earle promised to return to Martha’sVineyard and work together toward this, in light of NOAA’s recent invitationto communities across the nation to nominate national marine sanctuaries.To learn more about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue, go to <> .Byline:Written by Vineyard resident Martha Shaw, journalist and CEO of EarthAdvertising, founded in 1998 to give voice to the planet Earth. Martha wasstaff researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she metWalter Cronkite and contributed content to Cronkite Universe Series.  She isa Fellow of the Explorers Club and covers ocean topics at the UnitedNations, and serves on the advisory board of<> BLUE Ocean Film Festival andConservation Summit being held November 3-9, 2014 in Tampa Bay.(caption) Martha Shaw and Walter Cronkite, 1990