January 21, 2013

(c) Kip Evans/Mission Blue

NORWALK, CT  – Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and a passionate defender of the oceans, will share her call to action on Thurs., Jan. 24 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

The pioneering oceanographer will talk at 7:30 p.m. in the Aquarium’s IMAX Theater.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Earle back to The Maritime Aquarium and to share her message with our community,” said Jennifer Herring, president of The Maritime Aquarium. “It will be inspiring to hear from someone with such a vast knowledge about the marine environment – yet still such a deep enthusiasm and driving curiosity; and from someone who has such an impassioned concern for the marine environment.”

At the frontier of deep-ocean exploration for four decades, Sylvia Earle has led more than 100 expeditions worldwide, logging nearly 7,000 hours under water, and holds the women’s record for deepest solo submersible dive. Her work inspired Time magazine to name her its first “Hero for the Planet” and The New York Times to call her “Her Deepness.”

The former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now heads two organizations: the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA), which is committed to inspiring a “sea change” in public awareness and support for protected marine areas worldwide; and Mission Blue, a worldwide alliance that seeks to restore and protect the health of the oceans, which is vital to all life on Earth.

“No water, no life. No blue, no green,” she is known for saying.

“We’ve eaten 90 percent of the big fish in the sea. Nearly half of the coral reefs have disappeared,” she recently said. “I’m haunted by the thought of tomorrow’s children asking why we didn’t do something on our watch to save sharks and bluefin tuna and squids and coral reefs and the living ocean while there still was time. Well, now is that time.”

(c) National Geographic

Earle’s appearance at The Maritime Aquarium is a family-friendly event because she appreciates her status as a role model for children interested in the marine world. (A picture-book biography, “Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle,” was named as one of the best books for children in 2012 by The Washington Post.)

“I am asked sometimes how did I get to be an explorer or a scientist,” she recently told one reporter. “I tell the truth. I started out as a little kid asking questions. Scientists and explorers never stop asking questions. Once you stop, you start to go to sleep mentally.”

Earle’s research has focused on marine algae and deep-water ecosystems, with an emphasis on exploration, conservation and the development of new technologies for operating in the deep sea. She’s the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), a marine consulting company that aims to engineer creative solutions to underwater exploration problems.

Still going strong at 77, she also chairs advisory councils for: the Ocean in Google Earth; the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies; the Marine Science and Technology Foundation; and the Schmidt Research Vessel Institute. Last summer, she co-led the final mission to the Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea lab. (Opened in 1993, Aquarius’ future is in jeopardy after losing its federal funding in September 2012.)

Earle also is a science advisor to One World One Ocean, the conservation program of MacGillivray Freeman Films, maker of some of the most popular IMAX movies ever shown at The Maritime Aquarium, including “Dolphins” and “The Living Sea.”

Tickets for Sylvia Earle’s Jan. 24th appearance are $35 ($30 for Aquarium members). Reserve them online at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Originally posted in the Danbury Hamlet Hub, photos supplemented by Mission Blue.


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