FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 14, 2012
Contact: David Helvarg (510) 778-8470 – Mary Kadzielski (202) 387-8030
“Because they love the ocean”
5th Annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awardees Announced
What: Blue Frontier Campaign / Peter Benchley Ocean Awards – 2012 winners
When & Where: Friday, June 1, California Academy of Sciences, SF.
San Francisco: At a time when our public seas and the communities that depend on them are at risk from pollution, overfishing, habitat loss and climate change top ocean explorers, advocates and scientists will soon be honored for their pioneering efforts to protect our blue planet. Their names are being released on Valentine’s Day because to love and protect the ocean as they do is to protect all life on our blue marble planet.
Named after Jaws author and lifetime marine wildlife conservationist Peter Benchley these are the only existing awards that acknowledge outstanding achievement leading to the protection of our coasts and ocean across a broad range of categories. “Too often, people have seen environmental conservation as ending at the shore’s edge,” said David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier Campaign. “But as is becoming increasingly clear, we are all linked to the seas around us, we are all dependent on the ocean for our economic security, sustenance and solace. We created the Benchley awards to honor those who have dedicated their lives to ocean defense, and who offer solutions that can still help us turn the tide.”
The 2012 award winners are:
§ Science – Dr. Nancy Rabalais, head of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Dr. Rabalais has identified the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and has worked tirelessly to reduce its upstream causes.
§ Policy – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D RI) is the major advocate for ocean protection in the U.S. Senate. He recently helped establish the Senate Ocean Caucus.
§ Exploration – Ocean in GOOGLE Earth has made discovery and exploration of the ocean world, once the realm of a handful of people, possible for anyone with access to a computer.
§ Media – Photographer Brian Skerry. His work for National Geographic, new book ‘Ocean Soul,’ and public outreach efforts offers both wonder and warning on the state of our ocean.
§ Solutions – Dr. Geraldine Knatz, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles. Dr. Knatz is leading the clean-up of the major commercial sea ports of LA and Long Beach and is also leading the global greening ports movement.
§ Christopher Benchley Youth Award – Ta’Kaiya Blaney is a ten-year-old first nations Canadian activist whose singing and appearances has inspired opponents of a planned oil pipeline and tanker terminal off British Columbia.
§ Hero of the Seas – Peter Douglas is the creator and long-time Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission whose work has assured public access to and protection of California’s 1,100 miles of spectacular coastline for the 37 million people of his state.
“I am proud to honor these heroes of the seas,” said Wendy Benchley, wife of the late Peter Benchley. “Each individual has made an immense impact in ocean conservation. Together they have the knowledge and resources to create progressive ocean policies. Now is the time to listen.”
Based in Washington, D.C. and Richmond, CA, the Blue Frontier Campaign works to build the constituency for and raise awareness of the solution-oriented marine conservation community.
Journalists and editors please go to www.bluefront.org for more information or contact David Helvarg (510) 778-8470 for follow up or to contact any of this year’s winners.