“My wish is that you will use all means at your disposal ... to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.” —Sylvia Earle’s 2009 TED Prize Wish
Thanks to hard work, more than 6,000 hours logged underwater, and the poise that comes with having worked in just about every facet of ocean conservation, Sylvia Earle’s wish is gaining traction, one marine preserve at a time.
The first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, Earle advises heads of state in the U.S. and abroad on critical marine protection legislation and works at the forefront of marine catastrophes, including the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Through countless media interviews, books, testimony before Congress, and on public, private, and academic stages worldwide, she strives to help us understand the consequences of everything we put into and everything we take out of the ocean—noting that every breath of air we take and every drop of water we drink depends upon its health.
Earle has authored more than 175 publications including her September 2009 book, The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One. She also authored the 2008 National Geographic book Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas, a compendium of maps, images, and information about the nature of the ocean and the current changes that are influencing life on Earth.
Earle reminds us there is reason for hope—that continued decline in the health of our ocean is preventable, not inevitable. Although humans are largely responsible for many stresses on the ocean—pollution, global climate change, and overfishing—we also are its best hope for survival.
More has been learned about the nature of the ocean in the past century than during all preceding human history, but at the same time, more has been lost owing to the growing impact that people are having on the sea through what is being put into it, and what is being taken out.
Earle demonstrates how the ocean provides the underpinning of our economy, health, security, and the existence of life itself. Once thought to be infinitely resilient, the ocean is in trouble, and therefore, so are we.