© Ian Shive
© Ian Shive
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Protecting Our Marine National Monuments: An Evening of Hidden Beauty

| Mary Jo Rice, Associate Director
Topics: Cetacean Habitat, Sanctuaries

Many tentacles make a great event!

Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project, Shark Stewards, and Earth Island Advocates partnered with the David Brower Center and Tandem Stills + Motion on November 15th to spotlight the beauty and importance of our currently threatened Marine National Monuments.

One hundred and fifty people braved air quality warnings, triggered by raging Northern California wildfires, to attend this special event at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley: Protecting Our Marine National Monuments: An Evening of Hidden Beauty. 

Ian Shive, an Ansel Adams Award–winning photographer, filmmaker, environmentalist, and founder of leading outdoor photo agency Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc., traveled from Los Angeles to join us. He presented a unique collection of breathtaking images of our Marine National Monuments; island chains and coral reefs protected from exploitation by former presidents using the Antiquities Act. He also wowed the audience with a nine-minute preview of his forthcoming documentary, Hidden Pacific, a pioneering film profiling the Pacific Ocean’s protected and remote National Wildlife Refuge islands and Marine National Monuments. (The film will be released on Earth Day 2019. Stay tuned on our plans for a San Francisco Bay Area film-screening event with Ian Shive, in a dome venue, next spring!)

Sumona Majumdar, who worked in the U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama, now serves as Earth Island’s first general counsel and director of the new Earth Island Advocates program. At the event, Sumona spoke about legal preparations to defend the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in addition to other Marine National Monuments that are under assault by the Trump Administration. Sumona’s role has enabled Earth Island to double the number of legal suits on behalf of ocean and wilderness protection, climate change, toxins, and animal welfare this past year. She has sucessfully engaged more than a dozen pro bono partners – law firms, legal clinics, and other nonprofits – to advance Earth Island’s environmental litigation efforts defending the Earth and her oceans.

Following the presentation by Ian and Sumona, the event included a panel discussion on current threats and actions to protect the Marine National Monuments. Ian and Sumona joined the panel with David Phillips, director of Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project; David McGuire, director of Shark Stewards; and Deborah Sivas, director of Stanford’s Environmental Law Clinic. A lively Q&A with the audience followed.

The event concluded with a large and rapt group accompanying Shark Stewards Marine Biologist David McGuire through the Brower Center’s extraordinary National Geographic exhibit, Art/Act: Brian Skerry – SHARKS, asking everything they wanted to know about sharks. Everyone then mingled at a post-event reception.  

Huge thanks to attendees and to 24 event volunteers and generous local businesses:


Event Sponsors:

Good Earth Natural Foods – Fairfax, CA

Hotel Shattuck Plaza – Berkeley, CA


Food and Drink Donors:

Comforts – San Anselmo, CA

Elizabeth Rose Wines – Oakville, CA

Miyoko’s Kitchen – Petaluma, CA

Star Route Farm – Bolinas, CA

The Cheese Board Collective – Berkeley, CA

Trader Joe’s – Berkeley, CA


To support our work to maintain protected status for critical Marine National Monument ecosystems, please get involved:


Action Item: http://savedolphins.eii.org/files/dwp/PRI_Take_Action.pdf

Donate: www.eii.org/prinm

Credit: Sharon Negri.
From left to right: Shark Stewards Director David McGuire, Tandem Stills + Motion CEO and filmmaker Ian Shive, International Marine Mammal Project Director David Phillips, Stanford’s Environmental Law Clinic Director Deborah Sivas, and Earth Island Advocates Director Sumona Majumdar.


Header image credit Ian Shive: Laysan Albatross on Midway Atoll, a part of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the North Pacific Ocean.