January 27, 2011

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By Sheila A. McKenna,

SEAlliance Senior Research Scientist

Sylvia Earle speaking after accepting her life time
achievement award from NCSE, Washington DC
Photo: Jenifer Austin
Our Changing Oceans, the 11th National Conference on Science, Policy and Environment, took place in Washington, DC from January 19-21, 2011. At the end of day two, Her Deepness, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, was awarded the National Council for Science and the Environment Lifetime Achievement Award. After being befittingly introduced by ocean champion, Congressman Sam Farr, Dr. Earle took the stage wearing her signature light blue blazer and infectious smile to an enthusiastic standing ovation from the packed auditorium. Once on stage, Her Deepness cast her magic by opening with a seven-minute clip of the documentary/movie about her TED Wish and Mission Blue. You could have heard a pin drop while the video played, even though the audience was mostly full of like-minded “oceanphillic” individuals. The film clip poignantly captured the plight and hope for our oceans, which is Dr. Earle’s mission. After weaving her poetry of words around powerful images of the ocean and our planet, two things stuck out most in my mind. First was the image of mars juxtaposed to earth, where Her Deepness pointed out the scary similarity and irony that while we are looking for life on mars, we are continuing to reduce life on earth, making our planet look more like mars. A lot of us understand this grave reality and want to urgently fix the problem by addressing the challenge with optimism in order to enlighten people about the ocean so that they can know, care and take action. The second thing that struck me was after Dr. Earle’s acceptance speech, Her Deepness rushed the podium manned by Mr. Jean Michel Cousteau to give him a double handed high five when he challenged her to dive with him on her 100th birthday.  Let’s hope we are all there for that dive and are diving in a healthy ocean.

Click here to watch Sylvia Earle’s acceptance speech. First time viewers will need to register by entering their email address and access code “1ocean.”

Another highlight proceeding Sylvia’s life time achievement award, was the showing of this brand new film trailer about Sylvia and her wish to protect the ocean. The full feature is scheduled to come out this fall. Please see below:

A Mission Blue, Hope Spots Production

Written by Sheila McKenna
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