A Tribute To James Barnes

March 14, 2014

Warm wishes to James (Jim) Barnes, ASOC's co-founder and long-time leader, on his retirement.

James (Jim) Barnes, ASOC’s co-founder and long-time leader, is retiring at the end of March. Warm wishes have poured in from all over the world. Below are some of those farewell thoughts.

Good luck Jim. Thank you for your passion, commitment and decades of work in defense of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Jim Barnes, Former Executive Director and Co-founder of ASOC. Photo: Åsa Hildestrand.

This is one of those moments in life when really you don’t know what to say. We knew this moment was approaching but it still feels a bit unreal. ASOC has been such an important part of my life and career and you have been such a loyal and solid support during all these years. So many memories,both difficult and happy moments come to my mind…

We will really miss you. I will always remember you with deep gratefulness and a big smile. I hope our paths will cross again

This old Celtic blessing puts nicely my wishes for this new period of your life. You have worked hard Jim, I hope you can now find pleasure, peace and joy galore!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

With my very best wishes!!

— Virginia Gascon

Dear Jim

On behalf of the WWF RU allow me greeting you and wishing you all the best in your new life!


— Konstantin Zgurovsky, Marine Programme Coordinator, WWF-Russia

Jim’s contribution to the world’s collective consciousness about this special part of the planet is perhaps his greatest legacy. Through the years, Jim has persistently raised the profile of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and the threats this region faces with governments, industry and international management agencies. He has pushed them hard, but has managed to maintain an enduring professional credibility. To see Jim “walk the floor” in CCAMLR meetings, talking with senior diplomats and influential scientists, is to see how Jim is respected by all. His closing address at the last CCAMLR meeting, shows that behind this credibility and respect is a deep caring for the planet.

Jim, I wish that CCAMLR had created a legacy last year in the form of two large marine protected areas. This is yet to happen. They will, in my mind, be a dedication to your untiring work.

— Bob Zuur, WWF

It was an honor working with you, Jim. And you leave an incredible legacy. Looking forward to seeing you this summer, and to continuing the relationship.

— Mark Bauman, National Geographic

On behalf of CSI, Jim, I express our gratitude both for your superb advocacy and leadership of ASOC, and for tolerating the odd little NGO that we are. I hope that you feel a deep sense of satisfaction that you have helped the world through your actions. I know you have. I also know the power of governments to stumble over greed or ignorance, and the often employed weapon of bureaucratic sluggishness to prevent having to implement change. The war will continue.

— William W. Rossiter, President, Cetacean Society International

No words. You have done too much and will be sorely missed.

— Karen Sack, Senior Director, International Oceans, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Enjoy your ‘retirement’ Jim! (The quotes are because I’m sure you’ll keep your hand in in some way!). You’ll be missed in Brazil!

— Michael Sparrow

On behalf of Else Berit Eikeland, Senior Arctic Official and Special Adviser on Polar Affairs of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I would like to thank you for your great commitment and contribution to Antarctic issues. We appreciate the good discussions we’ve had on different issues, both in ATCM and CCAMLR. We wish you all the best! We would also like to welcome Mark Epstein, and look forward to working with ASOC in the years to come.

— Mette

I expect everyone is saying the same – you’ve certainly earned retirement, but you will be so terribly missed! Since you founded ASOC and published Let’s Save Antarctica! (there are still two copies on my shelf) I doubt whether anyone has done more to ensure Antarctica is “saved”. Getting the Madrid Protocol and all its annexes drafted, adopted and ratified and (largely?) enforced is such a terrific achievement, something that really makes a big difference – and without you and your calm, articulate, untiring persistence I don’t think it would have happened. And now the Ross Sea MPA has come a long way, and surely must be achieved soon. Thank you, many many times over!

— Cassandra Phillips

A well-deserved farewell. It’s been my pleasure to work with you, and I suspect our paths will continue to cross. I recently retired myself, so perhaps we can gather to compare notes..i’m thinking of forming an Italo-American Polar Bocce Ball Club to keep busy: any interest…? Let me know next time you pass through Washington, and I’ll do the same if I get to France…we can buy each other a retirement drink or two! All the best.

— Ray Arnaudo

Wow, James… what a moment in your professional life… I can understand it as I making progress to step down from Founder and President of the Forum of NGOs for the conservation of the Patagonian Sea… hard, but very rewarding to know that our creation survived these dynamic times… I congratulate you and hope we will be able to keep ASOC at the level you envisioned.

— Claudio Compagna

Congratulations on your retirement, we will miss you!

— Pamela Toschik

I was really pleased to work with you during all these past years in the ATCM and CEP meetings, as well as in several other occasions, like in the Kruger Park some several ago. ASOC and the French delegations are usually on very close lines and I hope that it will the same in the future. I have no doubt that we will continue to work with Mark, your successor, in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty and for our common goal: the protection of this unique environment. I wish you the best for your new life. Amicalement.

— Yves Frenot

I think it fitting that you receive a congratulatory email from me while I am in the Antarctic. Thanks for your hard work, and I hope we continue to cross paths in the future. Most of all, take care and good luck in your new endeavors.

— George Watters

I am sorry to see you go after so many years. Racking my brain for something appropriate to say, I think the following from Marvin Albert’s Long White sums up your contribution for me:

Here’s to the long white road that beckons,
The climb that baffles, the risk that nerves;
And here’s to the merry heart that reckons
The rough with the smooth, and never swerves.

An old Māori song, this piece of poetry as always inspired me as have you. Well wishes for the road to follow and hopefully our paths will cross again soon.

— Denzil Miller

I would like to also send my respect for all of your dedication and greetings for new year! Sometimes when I think of ASOC coalition, it feels like a miracle as we are all united from all over the Earth only for Antarctic. I have been honored and happy to be able to meet you and talk with you and learn from you.

— Jie Hyun, Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner

I’ve just seen a note from Ray Arnaudo and could I add my very best wishes to you on your retirement. I know that we did not always see eye to eye on every issue, but I very much respected your own position (and how well you articulated it on behalf of ASOC). I am sure that retirement will bring many new opportunities and challenges, and doubtless there will be very little grass growing under your feet. Whatever, you now decide to do in this new period of “relaxation” could I wish you all the very best. Enjoy it.

— Mike Richardson

Life sometimes offers you nice surprises. Your little e-mail certainly is one of them. I was both pleased and impressed that you remember our cooperation and – sometimes – small controversies about the best way forward for the Antarctic Treaty System. We might have differed as to the best policy and, indeed, we had different tasks – but I never doubted your strong commitment to help safeguard the Antarctic environment nor your professional competence. It has therefore been a pleasure to follow you on your continued path through ASOC, and conversely, I am sorry to see you leave. There is still so much to do. I retired from the Norwegian Foreign Service last fall. Among my best memories are those connected with the efforts to take care of the political, scientific and, not least, environmental cooperation in the Antarctic. Nan and I have settled in France. Let me know when you might be in Paris. It would be fun to see you again over a cup of coffee.

— Rolf Trolle Andersen

All our very best wishes on your retirement. You can certainly take pride in all you have accomplished and all those you have touched in your years with ASOC, as well as in the your other arenas of work. I’m also sure that the contributions haven’t ended. It was a pleasure to take part with you in many of the key initiatives in the development of the Antarctic Treaty System. Take care and hope that our paths will cross before long.

— Tucker Scully

Go well, Jim with whatever lies ahead.

— Gerard van Bohemen

Ray A. has just informed me about you retirement from ASOC. It is really amazing to learn about this – you have been so important in many context, including, of course, Antarctica. I have been away from the Antarctic business for a couple of years, but I try to follow the developments as closely as possible. I therefore hope to see you in the future. If you ever come to Sweden, please let me know.

— Marie Jacobsson

Time certainly has flown. A mere 35 years — truly scary. Truth be known, I’m highly jealous of your new-found retirement status! Hope to catch you somewhere at some point in the near future. Antarctica is going to miss yo

— Michael Kennedy

Ahoy Jim. You have inspired us all. All my best!

— Rob swan and the 2041 Team

Really moved to hear you are “retiring”, Jim. Hope that’s ok to put it in quotation marks. I think that you were the first person I ever had a substantive conversation with about the Antarctic which I think occurred at the Whales Alive Conference in Boston in about 1983. If we ever get a substantial MPA network in Antarctic waters, I think one of them ought to be named after you.

— Erich Hoyt, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Jim, ASOC has played an important role in advancing the science and ecosystem conservation objectives of CCAMLR and other parts of the Antarctic Treaty System. You may be on of the last, if not the last, individuals still involved who was involved in the conceptualization, negotiation, and start-up of CCAMLR. You will be missed. Although I don’t know Mark Epstein, I assume you believe he can follow in your footsteps.

— Bob Hofman, Marine Mammal Commission (retired)

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