Photos by Tim Taylor
Jennifer first became fascinated with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, our next portrait subject in the Global Women Project, when she heard about her work in the Sargasso Sea (a sea without shores). Sylvia is trying to save the oceans and is focusing on one simple idea: protecting them. She has established a global network of marine-protected areas called ‘Hope Spots,’ “to save and restore…the blue heart of the planet.” The Sargasso Sea is much more than a starter kit for new coral reefs; “it could provide a road map for creating more protection elsewhere.”
Sylvia’s concern is for the oceans that make up 97 percent (in volume) of the planet where life can exist. These oceans provide more than half the oxygen we breathe. Planet Earth is really Planet Ocean, and is mankind’s global life-support system.
We are embarking on the greatest era of planetary exploration in all of human history through deep-sea exploration. Sylvia has led over 60 undersea expeditions, spent more than 6,000 hours underwater, and holds the record for diving solo to a depth of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). She pioneered vehicle technology that allows researchers to explore otherwise inaccessible depths, where there are hundreds of thousands of unidentified species, earning her the nickname “Her Deepness.” Sylvia has received more than 100 national and international awards, including the coveted TED Prize in 2009.
“If you really want to make a difference — are you a poet? Are you a writer? An accountant? Are you a musician? Are you a scientist? Are you a kid who cares? Whatever it is you are, you have some power to use that capability. The other thing to recognize is that everything is connected — that what we put onto our lawns, what we put in our atmosphere, all of that ultimately winds up in the oceans, and it winds up back to us.”
“We still have a chance to make peace with the ocean.”
written by Andalee Motrenec