TUF OCEAN FUND
We live on a blue planet. The ocean covers over 70 percent of the planet and sustains life on Earth. The Ocean produces between 50 and 80% of the oxygen we breathe and consumes more than 25% of carbon dioxide (CO2) of the planet. Half the people on earth depend on the ocean for their primary source of food. Ocean currents determine weather patterns across the globe, and its waters absorb over 90 percent of the extra heat now being trapped in our atmosphere due to climate change. Its waters hold at least a million species of plants and animals. They carry the secrets of the inner-workings of our planet, of how life began and how it can survive in the harshest of circumstances (not to mention minerals, pharmaceuticals, energy…). And finally, preserved in the ocean are ancient civilizations and thousands of years of shipwrecks that tell the human story.
Yet while we rely on the ocean for our very existence, we threaten its health through overfishing, pollution, and climate change. We have already removed 90 percent of the largest predators---the lions and tigers of the sea. The Ocean is downstream from everything. Eighty percent of ocean pollution comes from land-based sources. This includes oil, pesticides, trash, and nutrients from fertilizer runoff from farms and lawns. Excessive nutrient loading causes explosive growth of algae and the depletion of oxygen, resulting in toxic algal blooms and dead zones. There are 600 of these Dead Zones around the world, covering about 95,000 square miles. That’s more than the size of the United Kingdom . Just last year, researchers announced that the dead zone in Gulf of Mexico could be the 3rd largest ever measured. Our carbon emissions have made the ocean more acidic — 30 percent more acidic, in fact, than before the Industrial Revolution. The last time the oceans got this acidic, this fast, was 252 million years ago, when 96 percent of marine life went extinct. Given its importance and the challenges it faces its astounding that 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored. And while human impacts are enormous, only three percent of the ocean is fully protected from industrial activity.
While the challenges are many, so too are the solutions. In fact, we know what must be done to restore the ocean to full productivity. TUF is committed to collaborating with its partners around the globe in finding, funding and telling the stories of those individuals and organizations working [on innovative solutions/to save our ocean planet].
Our mission is to protect and restore the ocean through scientific research and exploration, active conservation projects, and public engagement and awareness efforts.
In the next five years, TUF will:
- Launch “Ocean Souls”, an initiative designed to build an understanding and connection with the most intelligent species on earth besides our own: cetaceans—whales, dolphins and porpoises. The initiative will work with an international team of scientists, photographers and videographers to engage the global public and encourage individuals to take action to protect and conserve these magnificent animals.
- Support efforts to create a Marine Protected Area off Cape Verde to protect critical nursery areas for Eastern Atlantic sharks and rays. TUF will work with its Conservation Partner MarAlliance to build support for research to assess and monitor poorly understood shark and ray populations and fund the production of short videos to educate and inspire local communities and political leaders about the need to take action.
- Support research and assessment of Leatherback Sea Turtle populations and build local and international support for conservation efforts
- Broaden public awareness of the benefits from, risks to and ways to restore the ocean to full productivity.
Through scientific research and exploration we are illuminating the depths, discovering new species and uncovering clues to human history and the origins of the planet. Our conservation efforts work to protect endangered and threatened species, restore critical marine ecosystems, and sustain the communities that rely on a healthy ocean. And our storytelling inspires others to engage in and magnify these efforts, catalyzing a new wave of ocean innovation and restoration.
- Scientific Research and Exploration Support and conduct research expeditions, focusing on projects that offer the opportunity to engage new and existing audiences well beyond those with an interest in the ocean.
- Conservation Outcomes Provide grants that support local efforts to restore the health and productivity of the ocean through conservation, research, education, and community programs. Work with Conservation Partners to augment impact.
- Global Awareness and Engagement Through powerful storytelling, deliver a continuous stream of inspirational content across all UPROAR platforms. Focus on stories that maximize awareness of TUF goals as well as broader ocean issues and solutions, increasing global awareness of the beauty, importance, and vulnerability of the ocean while empowering individuals to take action and providing opportunities for engagement.