Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: James Cameron and Enric Sala Named National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence

Welcome to Wonderful Waterful Wednesday, a weekly post at Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog that explores everything fabulous and fascinating about the oceans and waterways that cover our Blue Planet.

Filmmaker and alternative-energy proponent James Cameron and marine ecologist  Enric Sala have been chosen as the National Geographic Society’s newest Explorers-in-Residence. This select group includes some of the world’s preeminent explorers and scientists and represents a broad range of science and exploration.

A Titanic Passion for the Abyss

James Cameron working on a underwater shot. Photo courtesy James Cameron.

James Cameron has brought together two of his passions — filmmaking and scuba diving — in his work on movies such as “The Abyss” and “Titanic.” The latter took him on 12 manned-submersible dives to the famed shipwreck in the North Atlantic.

Since then he has investigated the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck; organized expeditions to deep hydrothermal vent sites along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the East Pacific Rise and the Guaymas Basin in the Sea of Cortez; and led seven deep-ocean expeditions with a combined total of seventy-two submersible dives!

Cameron is currently leading a team building a unique manned sub capable of diving to the ocean’s greatest depths. Next year he plans to pilot the sub to the deepest point in the ocean, the Pacific’s Mariana Trench. It will be the first in a series of dives to some of the  world’s deepest places, including the Mariana, Kermadec and Tonga trenches.

Avatar Inspires a New Passion

James Cameron on board a helicopter
Filmmaker James Cameron tests a 3-D camera while on a helicopter. Photo courtesy James Cameron

Work on “Avatar” inspired a new mission for Cameron — illuminating the plight of indigenous peoples, especially those involved in struggles over energy issues. Since the film’s release, Cameron has spent  18 months in energy battlegrounds — in the Alberta, Canada tar sands and the Amazon — meeting with indigenous peoples whose environments and way of life are threatened.

Cameron has also organized a task force of deep-ocean experts to address offshore oil production and ocean engineering issues raised by the 2010 Gulf oil spill. He continues to work in the arena of alternative energy.

Marine Ecologist Enric Sala

Witnessing the harm people do to the ocean led marine ecologist  Enric Sala to dedicate his career to working to conserve marine life. Sala is one of a rare breed of scientist who combines research with effective communication to inspire people to protect the ocean.

Enric Sala diving with a green turtle
Enric Sala diving with a green turtle off Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Photo by Octavio Aburto

One of his goals is to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide, using scientific expeditions, the media, partnerships with local conservation organizations and high-level discussions with leaders in countries around the world.

Sala fell in love with the sea while growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. After obtaining a Ph.D. in ecology in 1996 from the University of Aix-Marseille, France, he worked in California for 10 years as a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

In 2006 he moved back to Spain to take the first position in marine conservation ecology at Spain’s National Council for Scientific Research, and in 2008 he became a Fellow at the National Geographic Society, where he leads the Pristine Seas project.

Pristine Seas Successes

The Pristine Seas team recently worked with Oceana-Chile and the Chilean government to establish the 15,000-square-kilometer Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park around Salas y Gómez, a small, uninhabited Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean.

Working with local and international non-governmental organizations, Sala’s Pristine Seas project also inspired the Costa Rican government to create the new 10,000-square-kilometer Seamounts Marine Managed Area around Cocos Island.

Cameron and Sala join 13 other National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence: oceanographer Robert Ballard, anthropologist/ethnobotanist Wade Davis, geographer Jared Diamond, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, conservationist J. Michael Fay, archaeologist Zahi Hawass, filmmakers/conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert, paleontologists Meave and Louise Leakey, anthropologist Johan Reinhard, paleontologist Paul Sereno and geneticist Spencer Wells.

For more information on the Explorer-in-Residence program and other fabulous National Geographic projects, including the ever-exciting monthly magazine, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

Round of Words in 80 Days

Rond two of the #ROW80 challenge. I petered out on the first one because I gave myself too many goals and stopped checking in regularly. Round two went well, as I was writng A LOT, but then forgot to post my successes!  this time I’m going to try to be more deliberate about both goal-setting and checking-in.

Round three started this weekend and goes until September 22. I’m not sure I want a wordcount goal – I think that contributed to my demise in Round One.  Instead, I have two completion goals.

Writing goals: finish AND submit two short stories, one this month and the second by the end of August.

Blogging goals: Twice weekly – “Wonderful Waterful Wednesday” and “I’m Diggin’ Friday.” I keep threatening to add another day, and keep psyching myself out, so I’m NOT going to put that down.  We’ll see if I end up doing it anyway…

Social Media Goals (I got this from a fellow WANA alum): leave at least a half-dozen comments a week on other folks’ blogs.  It’s great to RT something (and I do, often), but nothing makes a blogger feel warm and fuzzy like comments (hint, hint!)

BONUS: July Poster Giveaway

This month’s special giveaway is this fabulous out-of-print NOAA poster, Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Everyone who leaves a comment between now and the middle of July gets one entry in the drawing. Link to this site on your blog and get two entries. Get your comments in now!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

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