“If we can’t protect manta rays, the most magnificent and gentle of underwater creatures, then I don’t think we can protect anything. Mantas are like angels sent to us as one final test to see what we are willing to save,” ~ Shawn Heinrichs
Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, underwater photographer, scuba diver, and marine conservationist. An independent underwater filmmaker and founder of Blue Sphere Media, a production company specializing in underwater, adventure and marine conservation films, he has acquired considerable first-hand knowledge of the oceans most important marine areas.
“Strip mining of the Oceans”
In 2000, Heinrichs decided to find out for himself what was happening to the ocean. This led to a profound awakening, uncovering what he describes as “strip mining of the oceans” and horrible cruelty, witnessing shark finning and cutting shells off turtles. “It is not enough to get people to say when will they stop. We need to stop saying they and do it ourselves.”
Heinrichs describes a community in the Philippines that 10 years ago was finning whale sharks. This community turned to protecting marine life and now benefits from the dive tourism the whale sharks attract. In addition to an economic connection with these animals, they made an emotional connection.
“We need a wider audience to fall in love with whale sharks and from that love, become outraged by the finning of whale sharks.”
“We need to connect people with these animals and then through this connection, a desire to protect these animals will arise,” observes Heinrich. “We need to connect to people outside the dive community. We need a wider audience to fall in love with whale sharks and from that love, become outraged by the finning of whale sharks.”
As an investigative conservation journalist, Shawn has gone undercover to expose stories in some of the most remote or challenging locations and his work has provided a rare view of the people and some of the more disturbing elements of the endangered species trade. His investigative footage and images have been used as centerpieces for documentaries and campaigns reaching hundreds of millions of people. In his drive to spread the word, Shawn has published numerous conservation articles and given presentations on marine conservation to audiences across the globe.
Learn about WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and the Pew Environment Group.
Shawn has worked with leading film and journalist teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic and delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Pew Environment Group.
Teaming up with John Weller, the two are creating a global film series to raise awareness and support campaigns for addressing ocean issues. And in partnership with Jim Abernethy and George Schellenger, the trio are creating films about sharks and other charismatic marine life
To discover more about Shawn’s career documenting the ocean listen to the entire Heinrichs interview at the Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Shawn Heinrichs. Visit Shawn’s Blue Sphere Media website and the Blue Sphere Foundation and see a review of Sharks Up Close in the Blue Ocean Store.
Another of our Blue Ocean experts speaking on the theme of “Change Comes through Action” is Sacha Greene Belter. “Then we took the big leap…. We started with a couple of solar systems on the roof and a thermal system that helps us heat water for the pool. We changed the fixtures on the exterior lighting of the building. We changed our landscaping so that there would be no watering. We replaced our pool pump with a variable pool pump so it becomes a smart pump and can tell how much the water is being used and adjust the water circulation and lessen how much energy it is drawing. Instead of being on all the time it is working only when it needs to. We installed a UV filter for the pool to decrease the chemicals we use to treat the water.”
To learn more on transitioning to a sustainable dive business and choosing sustainable dive tourism destinations to partner with read Sacha’s entire article: “Boosting Your Bottom Line: Building Sustainability into the Dive Center Business Model” at: Ocean Profiles: Sacha Greene Belter