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Swimming long distances along the coasts of warm countries like the length of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica which I have now swum 5 times, is akin to the migrations that we usually associate with marine life such as humpback whales. By placing myself in this environment, I have become one with their world, able to experience the interconnectedness of ocean life.Having now completed over 8,242 kilometers in 5 seasons of migratory swims, 7 in Costa Rica, 4 in Mexico, and 1 around the island of Barbados, I now have a much better sense of the seriousness of the threats to the world’s oceans. In the last year and a half, almost all of the corals, with the exception of a very few specimens of brain coral, around the remote archipelago of Murcielago in northern Costa Rica have died. Corals almost everywhere are dying. Jellyfish are blooming in unheard of masses. Ocean temperatures are warming. and over fishing continues unabated except in MPAs (Marine Protected Areas or Marine Sanctuaries) that are well patrolled.My cause is to help promote new MPAs and to encourage vigilance of the existing MPAs.It is now considered imperative by all the major ocean protection organizations to place a minimum of 50% of the world’s oceans into MPAs by 2030 to prevent a disaster of a magnitude we can’t even imagine. The rest of my life is devoted to making this a reality.I am able to have access to the general public via the media through these extended multi-month swims and can help to inspire others to take action on behalf of the oceans.I hope my future swims will be an inspiration to you and will foster the view that the sea is not to be feared, polluted and exploited, but defended, protected and celebrated.We human beings are composed mostly of water, and by being immersed in the ocean 8 hours a day, for several months, I hope to open people’s minds to the miracle that is marine life and to our dependence upon it. As we see the effects of global climate change increasing, we realize that we must change our way of life to one that is more in harmony with the needs of all living beings or we will suffer the consequences of the breakdown of the web of life that sustains us. The environmental organizations like PRETOMA that will be funded by the proceeds of my swims are bringing this idea to reality by raising awareness of the fragility of our marine environment and by urging people to action.We look forward to your support!
Renate Herberger, November 2012
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