by Romain Troublé, Secretary general of Tara Expéditions
Ten years already… Ten years of Tara Expeditions raising awareness of the threat to our oceans and, therefore, our planet. Our approach is unique, as are our goals. We set out to conduct international expeditions using the thirty-six metre schooner Tara and in 2003, under the impetus of Etienne Bourgois and with support from agnès b, the Tara Expeditions initiative was born. The original idea was to tell the story of the men and women aboard the Tara, during her expeditions, to capture the public’s attention and raise awareness of the issues and challenges created by our current model of economic development. What better way therefore than to give the floor to science and to those pushing back the boundaries of knowledge to challenge our development model and better predict the medium and long-term changes that we face.
We have come a long way with the Tara over these last ten years. The early campaigns lasted several months and took artists and scientists as far as Greenland and Antarctica. They acted as test runs for our three large-scale missions Tara Arctic (2006- 2008), Tara Oceans (2009-2012) and Tara Oceans Polar Circle (2013) to study the climate and marine biodiversity. In addition to the numerous regions explored by the schooner over the years, our team, or « family » as we prefer to call it, has grown and developed. Thanks to the scientists, educational partners, sponsors and the public we are now capable of delivering the level of excellence that is required. Young people and the French media are now also familiar with the initiative.
If we have come so far, it is thanks to a great deal of passion. The passion behind the thirtymonths of the Tara Oceans expedition, with its scientists of forty nationalities, is something one can never forget. Despite the repetitive and systematic nature of the research an unwavering enthusiasm reigned aboard the Tara driven by the humanist desire to rediscover the oceans and gain new perspectives in order to understand their true role in our world.
Such passion awakens our childhood dreams of discovery and adventure, and that is something we want to share. People need to know that there is still a huge amount to discover, that we can still create a desirable future and that the dice have not been thrown. But we need to act now. First of all we need to respond to climate change, adopt a sustainable model of development, find new energy sources and eliminate the North/South imbalance in terms of education and knowledge. This is not about saving the world but about participating, via our scientists, in international research and paving a new way to develop knowledge about our Ocean Planet. What we are doing will hopefully make the oceans a central concern of our sustainable development model of the future and help us protect them by revealing their full potential in–and let’s not be afraid to say it–economic terms. It is this potential which will really convince us to move towards a more sustainable approach.
Supporting the Tara is about playing an active role in moving things forward, about confronting the reality of today’s environmental challenges, about making a stand and helping shape our future.
For the tenth anniversary issue of our journal (Click here to see the newspaper), we are pleased to bring you the impressions of some of the special people who have encountered the Tara along her way.
However make no mistake the star of this issue is of course the Tara, a ship which belongs to us all, to the whole world…
Ultimately the ocean will win !