Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle shares with Zoe Loftus-Farren of Earth Island Journal the most pressing of marine-related issues, and how we can translate knowledge into action so as to take steps in protecting our oceans – read the article!
“Plastics were a novelty when I was a kid, but now they have become a plague in the ocean. They still serve us well in so many respects. It’s not that all plastics are the problem, but single use plastics where you use something once and throw it away.”
At the age of 79, Dr. Earle has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, giving her the first-hand experience of witnessing radical changes in our oceans such as “the global reach of plastics pollution.”
Noting that while the level of awareness on plastics in the ocean has risen since the 1950s, the scale of loss, destruction and change has escalated along with it. The evolution of single use plastics for example, where plastic items are disposed off almost immediately, has introduced habits that, for the sake of the ocean, “has to stop.”
“It isn’t just trash, not just the unsightliness of it, or even the entanglement of animals that is the problem. It’s is also the influence on the chemistry of the ocean there too. Many toxins are introduced, toxins concentrated around bits and pieces of floating plastic.” – Dr. Sylvia Earle
Despite the destructive habits of our daily lives, Dr. Earle comments that the lack of communication and conversation within the community is the main problem. By not understanding the importance of the oceans, not knowing what exactly it is we are doing to the ocean, and most importantly by not drawing the link between “between the decline of the ocean and the perils that presents to the future of human civilization,” we will see a continuation in the decline of our oceans.
When asked about the one ideology she would instill in people about the ocean, she says “Take care of the ocean as if your life depends on it, because it does.”
- “Conversation with Dr Sylvia Earle” by Zoe Loftus-Farren. Earth Island Journal, Spring 2015.