Richard Branson, Edward Norton and National Geographic's Sylvia Earle are lending their likenesses to The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA), a new initiative set up by environmentalists powerhouses like Greenpeace and WWF among others.
The group's mission is to set up a marine reserve that would include 19 separate zones making it illegal for commercial fisherman from disrupting the fragile ecosystem both within and outside of the Arctic Circle. Besides the celebrity support, the initiative is just now hitting the mainstream press, and on Tuesday afternoon, got a write-up on The New York Times' Green blog, whose David Jolly cited frustration with "with the pace of the United Nations group charged with protecting Antarctic waters" as the reason for the AOA's founding. If they get their way, the AOA hopes to increase the protected area around Antarctica from 210,000 square miles to 1.36 million square miles.
While a mention in The Times and other news organizations should help the AOA, the group seems to be missing the mark on the new media front. Regardless of Richard Branson's grin and Edward Norton's blank stare -- it's not apparent whether or not the celebrities spokespeople will actually speak up beyond offering their visages for the website -- the AOA's presence on Twitter and Facebook are minimal at best. Its Youtube page has only three videos. If AOA wants to wage a modern campaign, it'll need to harness these tools to get its message out.