News: Dr Sylvia Earle Opens Celebrate the Sea Festival
This weekend saw the opening of the Celebrate the Sea Festival in Manado, North Sulawesi. This is Manado’s second time hosting this prestigious event since it began in 2002.
The event, which is to promote awareness of underwater environments through science and art, includes an international children’s drawing competition which was held on Saturday in Manado’s Mega Mall, an underwater photography shootout over the coming days and world famous keynote speakers including Dr Sylvia Earle who took to the podium on Saturday at the event opening.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue and two times Time Magazine Women of The Year Opened the event with an inspiring and thought provoking message filled with hope. This year’s event has been supported by the North Sulawesi Government and Tourism Board and is being used as a platform to call for the ban of single use plastics and shark fins in restaurants across the region by 2019.
Dr. Earle, who received a US $1,000,000 dollar grant for project Mission Blue which aims to salvage what is left of the world’s oceans by creating “Hope Spots” around the planet, announced on Saturday that the Bunaken Marine Park is currently under consideration to become one of these Hope Spots. Dr. Earle will spend the next few days scuba diving in the Bunaken Marine Park and around the surrounding islands. The event conference and key presentations will take place later this week prior to the event closing.
The Children’s art competition received thousands of entries from children in 10 different countries including Brunei, the Philippines, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia before the final 32 contestants gathered on Saturday for the final round.
In a media conference held over the weekend, Dr Sylvia Earle gave praise to Indonesia, “It’s very exciting to be in Indonesia – an ocean country more than most. All people, everywhere are dependent on the ocean but they don’t always know it. Here in Indonesia the importance of the ocean is much more appreciated. Manado is a great place to celebrate the sea. Over the next few days we will convey to the rest of the world the extraordinary nature of what exists here in your ocean”.
Event founder Michael Aw commented on the return of the festival to Manado and its purpose, “It’s a pleasure to be back in Manado. The purpose of this mission is to use the power of arts and science to inspire change. Science gives facts and knowledge but it is art which can change behaviour and attitudes. This is a blue planet and 99 % of living space is in the ocean. Every 2nd breath we take comes from the sea. Climate, weather and our air all from the ocean. The ocean supports all life on earth. Our mission is to get people more inspired about the ocean, to know more and care more about the ocean and change attitudes and behaviours. We are very fortunate to have Sylvia Earle with us for her third Celebrate the Sea Festival and we are very fortunate to be here in Manado”.
The official event opening was drawn to a close with a live performance from international musician and conservation activist, Kristin Hoffmann who performed her “Song for the Ocean” with the backing of UNSRAT university choir. Kristin Hoffmann, who has spent the run up to the event learning to scuba dive with Murex Dive Resorts in Manado stated, “It’s an honour to share awareness and talk about the ocean here in Manado. I dived this week in Manado and saw how beautiful and alive it is. I feel a deep appreciation for the awareness and understanding I have of how beautiful the ocean is in this special area”.
We are extremely proud to be involved in such a prestigious event and to have had the speakers, including Sylvia Earle dining with us here at Murex Manado this week, Kristin Hoffman learning to dive with us and even Danny, Angelique and family diving with Dr Earle in Bunaken!
Celebrate the Sea Festival 2018 continues this week – check back later for our full report.
Do you want to dive in the Bunaken Marine Park? For more information or to make a booking contact us on: [email protected]