In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN), the U.S. Department of State’s Eco-Capitals Forum, and the Wilson Center are launching Earth Challenge 2020 (EC2020)—a global citizen science initiative that will demonstrate how small digital acts of science can add up to global change.

Using mobile technology and an open source citizen science data infrastructure, EC2020 will get a pulse on our environment and empower people around the world to help monitor and improve environmental and human health. EC2020 mobilizes the existing citizen science community while building capacity for individuals around the globe to collaboratively address the world’s most pressing challenges.

As a global call to action, Earth Challenge 2020 can become a nexus for collecting and harmonizing one billion data points in any research areas that impact environmental and human health. At the same time, the “core” research questions identified through a public call offering practical opportunities for communities to collaborate on.

The dual objectives of the challenge support an integrated strategy for engagement and particpation.

  • Increase the amount of open and interoperable citizen science data to help answer more complex, global questions than any dataset could address alone.
  • Through a public call to action, volunteers will use the Earth Challenge 2020 application, mobile app framework, and hardware tools to collect new data. Information will be used to create a data catalogue and API-enabled data integration platform to facilitate discovery and access of existing citizen science information.

Taking a creative approach to discovery and engagement there will also be a series of videos by Wilson NOW available on the platform. Filmed in Washington the series features brief, incisive conversations with leading experts that make sense of today’s headlines and the forces behind them.

In the first Wilson NOW, John Milewski, speaks with Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, and The Wilson Center’s Alison Parker about; how the campaign will engage millions of global citizens to aggregate and collect more than one billion data points from areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health. 

In the subsequent Wilson NOW, John Milewski discusses the potential of citizen science initiatives with Landon Van Dyke, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, and Anne Bowser, The Wilson Center’s Director of Innovation.

Follow the Earth Challenge 2020 Community @EarthDayNetwork, @Earth_Challenge, and @WilsonsSTIP

BEJournal will be supporting EC2020 and you can contribute story ideas or follow us @EarthEndeavours


We all follow different paths, go our own ways—what this looks like for #SalmonWMN is utterly inspiring. This video is more than a media campaign for clothes designed by and for women, it is a celebration of diverse definitions and spirited female explorers.

Let go, of rigid concepts and embrace a new definition of what it means to be a woman, an adventurer, an athlete, a part of nature.

Inspired by #SalmonWMN, BE created a Stoke your Spirit list of Insta’s—women of every age, from every corner of the globe, their paths are all different. Some have run up mountains, others prefer to climb, they all rebel the notion “I can be defined”, instead choosing to be led, by the adventures ahead!

Emelie Forsborg @tinaemelie

Courtney Dauwalter @courtneydauwalter

Lucy Bartholowmew @lucy_bartholomew

Mira Rai @mira.rai

Mireia Miró @mireia_miro

Kajsa Silow @kajsasilow

Sara Hattar @sarahattar

Annelie Pompe @annelieadventures

Shelby Stanger @shelbystanger

Celine Cousteau @celinecousteau

Ami Vitale @amivitale

Cristina Zenato @cristinazenato

Jody MacDonald @jodymacdonaldphoto

Nadia Aly @nadia.aly.photo

Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier

Alison Teal @alisonsadventures

Kate Nelson @plasticfreemermaid

Julia Bradbury @therealjuliabradbury

Siananna Lewis @sianannalewis

Phoebe Smith @phoebersmith

Sophie Radcliffe @challengesophie

Pip Stewart @pipstewart

Daisy Gilardini @daisygilardini

Kiko Matthews @kikomatthews

Randi Skaug @skaugrandi

Nina Williams @sheneenagins

Sasha Digiulian @sashadigiulian

Matilda Söderlund @matilda_soderlund

Emily Harrington @emilyaharrington

Denna Kastor @denna8050

Renata Chlumska @renatachlumska

Shauna Coxsey @shaunacoxsey

Hilaree Nelson @hilareenelson

Sanni McCandless @sannimccandless

Steph Davis @highsteph

Savannah Cummins @sv.cummins

Kristine Tompkins @kristine_tompkins

Lizzie Carr @lizzie_outdside

Victoria Pendleton C.B.E @victorilou

This list comes with a wish to all gutsy girls: Let adventures dance in your head making sweet dreams as you head off to bed! Rest then Rise, Explore, and Live Full Lives!

BirdGenie™ is a breakthrough app that helps anyone with an Apple® or Android® smartphone or tablet accurately identify birds in the backyard, local park, or on the nature trail—all with the tap of a button! It’s like Shazam® for birds—just hold up your phone, record the bird singing, and BirdGenie™ helps you identify the species. The app’s highly developed sound identification ability and expert matching system enable bird enthusiasts to achieve an accuracy unheard of in the birding field. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about the birds around them.

BirdGenie™ includes up to two hundred vocalization types for one hundred species: literally all of the birds likely to be encountered in a backyard or local park, or on a hike, in North America at any time of the year. And the app is easy to use. Just point your smartphone or tablet at a bird, and tap the screen when the bird starts singing. The app’s automatic pre-record feature ensures that you won’t miss the beginning of the song and BirdGenie’s™ patented, highly accurate expert system matches the recording to the closest species. The app’s sophisticated noise-reduction feature means that even in noisy environments, where there is conversation or traffic, you can discover what bird you’re listening to.

Beyond specifying a bird species, BirdGenie™ provides sample songs and spectrograms to compare with your own recording and to guarantee a confident match. The app also includes pictures of all plumages, information about habitat and behavior, and links to further reading. It even has 3-D models for some of the species so you can match different views of a bird. You can share your recordings, photos, and matches with friends and other users, and if you’re so inclined, you can anonymously share recordings to a scientific database to help researchers learn about birdsong variations. No internet connection is required for anything but sharing, making the program accessible everywhere. Perfect for anyone who wants to know what birds are singing around them, BirdGenie™ takes bird identification to a whole new awesome level.

With BirdGenie™ You Can

  • Quickly identify most birds just by recording their songs.
  • Look at vivid images of the bird—some in 3-D!
  • Listen to samples of the bird’s various songs and compare them with your recording.
  • Keep a log of all your recordings.
  • Share your recordings, matches, and photos with friends and family.
  • Browse the built-in catalog to learn about local species, their other songs, their habits and diet, and much more.
  • Use the app anywhere, as no internet connection is required!

Important features of BirdGenie™

  • The matching expert system beats anything in the market today.
  • Easy-to-use guided user interface.
  • Effective noise-reduction system helps users make identifications in less-than-ideal environments.
  • Complete species accounts with multiple photos for all plumage types (some with 3-D models).
  • Comprehensive spectrograms (voiceprints of songs).

Technical Specifications

  • Requires iOS 10 or later. Compatible with all iPhones after iPhone 6 including 7, 8, X and iPad, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch.
  • Requires Android 5.0 and above. Compatible with most common Android phones and tablets.

Software written by Tom Stephenson, Stephen Travis Pope and Scott Whittle. BirdGenie™ is a trademark of Princeton University Press.

Shazam® is the registered trademark of Shazam Entertainment Limited and is not affiliated with Princeton University Press in any way.

Great Bear Rainforest is a Spirit Bear Entertainment film presented by Seaspan and directed by Ian McAllister (PacificWild.org), produced by Jeff Turner and executive produced by Kyle Washington and Byron Horner. Distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films.

A Magical Environment. Unchanged for 10,000 years…

Journey to a land of grizzlies, coastal wolves, sea otters and the all-white spirit bear — the rarest bear on earth — in the film Great Bear RainforestHidden from the outside world, the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the wildest places left on earth. Found on Canada’s remote Pacific coast, it is the last intact temperate rainforest in the world—a place protected by the region’s indigenous people for millennia. Now, for the first time ever, experience this magical world in IMAX and giant screen theatres, and discover the land of the spirit bear.

What is a Spirit Bear?

The spirit bear is a subspecies of the North American black bear that has white fur due to a rare genetic trait. Spirit bears are only found in the Great Bear Rainforest. No one knows exactly how many spirit bears there are, but estimates range from 50 to 100. They truly are the rarest bears on earth!

Guardians of the Forest

Since the last Ice Age, First Nations people have lived among the bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. Their living history is inseparably connected to the vibrancy of the rainforest, which they have protected for thousands of years. Today, indigenous youth are coming together and taking responsibility for this place they call home. Learn more about their work in Great Bear Rainforest.

For Educators

Invite your students to have a learning experience they won’t forget! Book a field trip to see Great Bear Rainforest and become immersed in the biology, geography, environmental sciences and other key school curriculum. Download the Educator Guide for hands-on activities aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA and Social Studies. Schedule your field trip now by contacting your local IMAX theatre for information about special group programs.

Filming in the Rainforest

Filming in the remote Great Bear Rainforest presented a unique set of challenges for filmmakers Ian McAllister and Jeff Turner. Over the three years it took to make this film, the crew faced everything from extreme weather, unpredictable wildlife, and the daily rigors of being in a rugged environment far removed from modern conveniences. But this also pushed the filmmakers into fresh creative territory where every shot was carefully planned out and new filmmaking techniques were deployed. Learn more in this interview with director Ian McAllister, who has worked and lived in the rainforest for 30 years. Read the Interview with Ian.

Learn more

To learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest and how you can help protect the spirit bears and their ancient forest home, visit PacificWild.org.  Each of us can make a difference in helping preserve this unique environment, one of the last truly wild places on earth.

In this video you can hear from Fellows with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) first-hand on what conservation photography means to them and why they devote their lives to this effort. They explain the behind-the-scenes work that goes into capturing compelling images.

iLCP supports visual storytellers in a shared mission of furthering environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography and filmmaking.

iLCP is best known for its Conservation Photography Expeditions that connect local, national or international organizations, our Conservation Partners, with one or more of their Fellows. The objective of these intensive documentary efforts is to produce a body of images that fully captures the threats and opportunities faced by communities whose physical environments, fauna, flora, and/or cultural traditions are in peril from human activity. With their deep and varied skill sets in all areas of science and years of experience working in the field, iLCP Fellow Photographers do far more than simply take pretty pictures. Rather, they capture visual narratives that give compelling evidence of the need to protect these special places. Through their extensive network of media, conservation, and policy contacts, iLCP help amplify our Partners’ existing advocacy campaigns to bring about positive conservation outcomes.

Learn more about iLCP @ conservationphotographers.org

Principles of Success learned through the Pursuit of Adventure, an animation by Ray Dalio. A short film with wide application to life and work.

“Whatever success I’ve had in life hasn’t been because of anything unique about me—it’s because of principles that I believe anyone can adopt. I created this animated series to share them with you”. —Ray Dalio

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Over forty years later, Bridgewater has grown into the largest hedge fund in the world and the fifth most important private company in the United States according to Fortune magazine, and Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way Dalio discovered unique principles that have led to his and Bridgewater’s unique success. It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio, that he believes are the reason behind whatever success he has had. He is now at a stage in his life that he wants to pass them along to others to do whatever they think is appropriate to do with them.

Learn more about Ray’s Principles @ principles.com

Photo Credit: Dean Sewell / World Animal Protection

The Canadian government has set a precedent for protecting cetaceans with a recent bill enforcing animal welfare in the entertainment industry. It reflects the growing concern over animal cruelty and reducing environmental impact as a measure of good business. Hopefully the new law will serve as a paragon for other industries who currently eschew the virtues of investing in preservation for the future.

Ben Pearson is Senior Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection Australia, we asked him to examine the implications of Canada’s legal precendent to protect animal welfare in the entertainment industry, and the value of embracing these laws in other countries.

What Canada’s bill to protect cetaceans means for animal welfare legislation?

If you grew up in Australia, chances are that you’ve been to Sea World on the Gold Coast. And if you’ve been to Sea World, chances are that you’ve seen the dolphin show. For many families, watching a dolphin show has been part of the magic of school holidays. 

But there’s nothing magic about the cruelty to dolphins and other marine animals that happens at Sea World in the name of entertainment.

Sea World is a relic of history. It opened its doors in 1971 in an Australia very different from today. Colour TV, credit cards and McDonalds were yet to be introduced, smoking was commonplace and car seatbelts weren’t yet mandatory.

In the intervening years a lot has changed, including community attitudes to animal welfare.

Canada recently introduced groundbreaking new laws to ban the trade, breeding and display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) for entertainment. The passing of Bill S-203 will amend the Criminal Code, with fines up to $200,000 for breaking the law. This is a significant move, reflecting the immense suffering whales, dolphins and porpoises experience when kept in captivity for entertainment. 

It is also a huge win for animal lovers, who have been campaigning for the legislation for years. Jurisdictions around the world are responding to the science by passing laws to ban or significantly restrict the captive display of marine mammals including Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, UK, and now Canada.

However, Bill S-203 does make an exception for animals currently captive and those needing care or rehabilitation. This is just one example of the complexity surrounding animal welfare legislation. For instance, there are no national laws on animal welfare in Australia – the states and territories are responsible for the legislation in their own jurisdiction. This means there’s no uniformity and some states are behind others. 

The Canadian government acknowledged that a shift in public perception about animal captivity played a factor in the new law. This change in attitudes has come from an increased scientific understanding of marine mammals, helping to educate the public about the issues surrounding keeping them in captivity. 

World Animal Protection’s recent report, Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity, jointly published with the Animal Welfare Institute, delved into the scientific and ethical arguments for banning marine mammal captivity. These kinds of studies have led to the acceptability of keeping animals in captivity for entertainment to decline. 

Back in 1986, Former NSW Premier Bob Carr introduced the Marine Mammals Protection Bill to protect marine mammals, while he was the environment and planning minister. Earlier this year, over 30 years after the legislation passed, the last captive dolphin venue in NSW, the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour, announced it will end its dolphin breeding program.

This leaves Sea World on the Gold Coast as the only venue in Australia that still breeds dolphins in captivity. There are currently 30+ dolphins at Sea World, most of which were born and bred there. This is out of step with community attitudes, and global trends away from keeping dolphin’s captive for entertainment. 

The end of captive dolphin breeding in NSW shows that change is possible and signals a shift in public perception in Australia. The introduction of nationwide laws in Canada is evidence that the voices of the people are being heard by governments. Globally, we have seen a greater awareness of animal welfare issues, but we need to keep speaking out to create lasting change. 

World Animal Protection is now calling on the Queensland Government to ban breeding at Sea World and begin work on a sea sanctuary for the dolphins who cannot be released into the wild. We’re asking the public to act now by signing the petition on our website

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Technology has accelerated the pace of online innovation changing how we communicate and engage audiences. This was keenly expressed in the topics explored at Cannes Lions last month, with AI and neuroscience highlighted as strategies for the future of creative communications. From behaviour-driven marketing to interactive media—the emphasis is on integrating algorythms and encouraging corporate and community sectors to adopt interactive technologies that speak to our digital culture.

Visual media is still a powerful language for generating impact and emotive engagement―but what we want to see, and how we use it, is changing. In this series of conversations, BEJournal looks at creative communications in the age of AI. Our first interview is with Dr Rebecca Swift, Director of Creative Planning for Getty Images. Her conversation with Inga Yandell explores imagery and its influence on culture, creating visually relevant narratives, and the responsibility of media to represent diversity, equality, and authenticity.

Dr Rebecca Swift, Direct of Creative Planning for Getty Images at Cannes Festival 2019. © Anthony Jones / Getty Images
CANNES, FRANCE – JUNE 20: A general view of the Time to Step Up: Smashing Beauty Stereotypes Talk at the Palais des Festivals on June 20, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Antony Jones/Getty Images)

How is Getty Images engaging new generations through creative collaborations and innovative storytelling models?

The Gen Z audience has a greater desire for transparency in imagery. As ‘digital natives’, this demographic has grown up with the internet and as a result are much savvier to marketing than previous generations. Getty Images recognises and understands this generation’s desire for authenticity, and is a passionate champion for the realistic representation of all through imagery and is proud to be leading the visual industry in the creation and promotion of powerful, relevant imagery which celebrates diversity and authenticity in every area of life.

All the projects we are working on internally are tackling different aspects of the same need for realistic representation. An example of this would be the decision we made as a company in October of 2017 to stop accepting creative images depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner — this was a first in the industry. Since then we are putting our energy into who is both in front of and behind the camera- whether that is someone who is a professional creator or someone who hasn’t had their break in the industry yet.

Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images
Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images

What percentage of imagery reflects gender equality?

As today’s creative industries are constantly changing and evolving, we aren’t able to put an exact percentage on gender equality in imagery. We are seeing more women as business leaders in advertising imagery, we are seeing more men as caregivers but it is not yet mainstream and when you analyse it across ethnicity, lifestyle, age etc, more work is needed.

What I can say for certain is that there is more imagery of women than men BUT because the commercial industry has been dominated by men, a very narrow definition of women dominates. As we have delved deeper into gender representation as a company, we have found that rather than percentages, it is the less quantifiable — the depiction of gender — that needs more attention. Both men and women are stereotyped and this is what needs to be adjusted.

How can we elevate the presence and impact of women in visual culture?

In this digital age, imagery as a communication tool is more important than ever before. The more we can get images of diverse women in the media landscape, the more quickly these concepts become normalized. And it’s not just about who is in front of the camera — the power of the female gaze behind the camera is just as vital to positive change. While we’re seeing changes in the way women are visually represented in popular culture, the closer we get to gender equality behind the lens, the more real these representations will become.

Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images
Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images

Where are you witnessing this shift and awareness?

In 2012 we began noticing the beginnings of what turned out to be a sea change in the ways women and girls were being talked about and portrayed in media. We noticed this trend was reflected in our own image sales. Our top selling image of a woman in 2007 showed a woman who looked like a perfect model, naked, covered only by a sheet, and lying in bed without very much to do. Five years later, our top selling image of a woman looked completely different. She was much more relatable, she was on a train looking out of the window at the horizon, going on a journey. And, most significantly, she was wearing clothes!

Finance brands for example have been very careful to bring diversity into their imagery in their ATL communication but when you start to analyse the more prevalent digital communications across all sectors, it starts to look less impressive.

Why is this representation vital to responsible branding?

We believe that anyone who has a role in creating, distributing and selecting imagery at any level and in any industry has the ability — and responsibility — to better represent the diverse audiences they are speaking to. At a time when imagery is the most widely spoken global language in broadcasting and branding, it has never been more important to produce and promote a visual language that is progressive and inclusive and to support diverse voices in doing so.

Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images
Image Credit: Natalie McComas / #ShowUs Getty Images

What is the value of showcasing women creatives in shaping the future of storytelling?

As much as we all like to think we are open-minded and objective, we are affected by unconscious biases that stem from our experiences. There are certain nuances and visual cues that some people are blind to if they haven’t experienced it themselves. Female creatives are needed in order to accurately portray the female experience — ultimately raising the standard of storytelling in visual culture at large.

Follow #BEJournal and @EarthEndeavours for more conversations from this series. And #ShowUs to learn more about Getty Images inclusive campaign for authentic and relevant media.

Our world is made up of more water than land, much of which is yet to be explored and its secrets revealed. At its depths lie a sense of beauty and calm witnessed by few. This rich stillness is found beyond human reach, and artfully distilled in the images of award-winning underwater photographer, Christian Vizl in his new book, Silent Kingdom: A World Beneath the Waves (Earth Aware Editions, 2019, $50.00).

Photographer Christian Vizl explores a world beneath the waves in Silent Kingdom.

The photos are purposefuly devoid of color, remnicient of a Japanese ink painting, reflecting dappled light and dulcet tones. Seen in black-and-white, water imparts a story, and its magic is captivating.

Through a range of undersea scenes and moods—from the ferocity of sharks to the playful dance of dolphins—Vizl turns aquatic creatures and marine seascapes into visions of sublime grace and beauty suspended in time and space. With each turn of the page, venture deeper into the one realm in which humans do not reign and discover an unforgettable world that few have ever seen.

Christian’s minimalist style evokes a deep reverence for nature. © Christian Vizil

Though the ocean covers over 70 percent of planet Earth, over 80 percent of that vast underwater wilderness remains unexplored. As the impact of human activity reaches these once-untouched regions, it is more important than ever to acknowledge both the preciousness of our seas and the necessity of protecting one of Earth’s last truly wild frontiers. Silent Kingdom is an ode to the beauty of the ocean and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it as well as a call to action to preserve our planet’s fragile underwater world.


Christian Vizl was born in Mexico City and has been a photographer for three decades. He has won dozens of professional photography awards, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year and International Photographer of the Year, and his images have been published in numerous publications, including National Geographic and Ocean Geographic.

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is president and chairman of Mission Blue. She has been called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and chosen as Time magazine’s first “hero for the planet.” She is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer.

Earth Aware Editions is committed to broadening awareness and understanding the unique challenges of our time through powerful and provocative publications. From climate change and conservation to the accelerating loss of diversity in our planet’s species and cultures, the continued erosion of our biosphere and ethnosphere cannot be ignored.

Gifts Inspired by the Garden

by Inga Yandell Inspiration

The garden can be a sanctuary of peace and inspiration for those who cultivate its charms—but not everyone is born with green thumbs! If you lack the space or the skill to nurture a garden, there are other ways to enjoy natures fragrance, colours and positive influence. Make-up inspired by the garden to bring joy […]

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A Great Mirrorless for Mastering Photography

by Inga Yandell Gadgets & Gear

Planning to sneak a few extra days over Easter? Most of us relish the thought of extending the long-weekend into a ten-day-break. For some, it can be the perfect opportunity to up-skill a hobby—transforming their passion into a promising new career. Photography is a hobby with wide appeal, it is both universal and unique. The […]

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