Blue Ocean Summit 2015 has brought together four very creative people to speak about how they use ocean film, marine life photography, books and a cartoon strip to focus attention on the very important environmental issues impacting our oceans today. Their lifestyles, experiences and artistic approaches are vastly different but they share in delivering critical messages.


Diving into the Veins of Mother Earth –  Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth, cave diver, ocean activist, underwater photographer, ocean authorYears of underground diving have transformed Jill Heinerth into a  spokeswoman for the world’s water sources. Jill says that all water is connected, and that “the beginning of the pipe.” is in the caves in which she dives. “We are Water” an hour-long film documentary, is Jill’s newest project that focuses on what is happening underneath the earth’s  surface, in places only cave divers will ever go .

Jill’s aim is to spread water literacy worldwide. Global Chorus, a book with 365 illustrious contributors shares Jill’s water wisdom and offers a wide range of perspectives on sustainable solutions. “the good news is that technology and social media have enabled a global paradigm shift.”  Jill enthusiastically states “I can talk to people in China. We can share experience. We can share ideas. We now have a voice that can reach globally … We have this power to communicate.”

Jill believes that her most importance audience are the kids,  “Kids…They want to live in a different world, and I think they feel the responsibility to fix what we’ve messed up for them.” Jill’s experience with kids suggest that “They can’t ignore global climate change … they can’t ignore water scarcity issues. They’re going to have to live differently than we did.”

Go deeper into Jill Heinerth’s article “Diving into the Veins of Mother Earth” at: Ocean Profiles: Jill Heinerth


The Next Generation: Inheriting Earth’s Issue –  Jonah Bryson

Jonah bryson, underwater filmmaker, ocean activist, save teh ocean, ocean change-maker, ocean issuesSeveral years ago, Dr. Sylvia Earle took Jonah Bryson under her wing. Jonah, a 15-year-old had been relentlessly pursuing Sylvia for an interview to feature in his environmental video project. “A Sweet Spot in Time turned into a full-length documentary film that stars Steve Spangler, the Science Guy from The Ellen DeGeneres Show; National Geographic oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, astronaut Chris Hadfield and the director of the award winning film Sharkwater Rob Stewart. .

Jonah is quiet and serious and unimpressed by the lack of engagement other teenagers display for ocean issues.  By taking action Jonah hopes to inspire a change in attitude and turn his generation of teenagers into ocean activists.

All the big environmental issues that are putting our future at risk, ocean acidification, deforestation, climate change, over fishing, they’re all linked together…. Jonah says “but the root, cause is really just too many people consuming too much.”

To understand more about the projects that young Jonah’s is involved with read his article “The Next Generation: Inheriting Earth’s Issues” at: Ocean Profiles: Jonah Bryson


Thru the Lens of Conservation –  Michele Westmorland

Michele Westmorland, underwater photographer, ocean activist, sustainable diving, sustainable trael, dive travelWhether it’s marine life photography or the beauty of cultural photography or oil on canvas, art can connect people across oceans and decades” Michele Westmorland says “it can tell stories and remind people of how delicate our Earth is in so many ways.”

As a prolific and well-respected member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Michele Westmorland has spent years as a scuba diver leading  groups to dive destinations all over the world. Her experiences have transformed her into a proponent of sustainable scuba diving and sustainable dive travel. “it’s getting harder and harder to take a pristine reef photo that magazines will want to print.” Michele says. “How do we tell divers the reefs are in peril when we don’t show the true story?”

Michele has enjoyed photographing underwater life since 1984. She says that each dive gave her a new and dramatic experience. From photographing tiny creatures hidden in the coral reef to magnificent Manta Rays the underwater world makes new discoveries possible every day.

To dive deeper into Michele’s underwater experiences and her view on today’s marine conservation issues read her article “Thru the Lens of Conservation” at Ocean Profiles: Michele Westmorland


Two Minutes in Sherman’s Lagoon –  Jim Toomey

Jim toomey, Sherman's Lagoon, ocean activist, ocean artist, ocean art, sustainable choices,What brings a very funny cartoon strip to the UN? Jim Toomey the creator of the widely syndicated Sherman’s Lagoon, has left his drawing board and stepped in front of the camera for the United Nations. Jim’s talent for explaining complex marine science concepts with entertaining illustrations is the seed from which a UNEP project to explain ocean issues has grown. The result is a series of short 2 minute films for regular folk that explains issues like over fishing and the impact that climate change is having on the ocean. In our interview Jim describes how he has introduced messages about making sustainable choices into his cartoons.

Combining two of Jim’s life-long passions Sherman’s Lagoon brings art and the sea together. Beyond creating the daily comic strip, Jim is an underwater filmmaker, producing award winning marine conservation videos for the United Nations Environment Program and Pew Environment Group.

“We’re looking at dead or bleached white coral reefs that were a box of crayons 20 years ago. Jim states that by telling “those stories of how the world is changing is probably the most effective way that divers can help this situation.”

Jim is a very funny guy and to find out more about what is happening in Sherman’s Lagoon dive into Jim’s article “Two Minutes in Sherman’s Lagoon” at Ocean Profiles: Jim Toomey