It’s important to have heroes.
Heroes nurture our souls with their wisdom and bravery, and provide clarity in an overly complicated world. Heroes make rare traits like courage and tenacity look commonplace. Heroes make the ordinary seem remarkable. Heroes live their lives inspiring others, whether they know it or not.
Shortly after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, marine researcher Sylvia Earle led an all-female expedition to an equally alien landscape: the bottom of the ocean. While the world was captivated with the stars and what existed above the atmosphere, Dr. Earle understood that our lives are bound to the ocean, and each meter we descended deeper into the water was just as important as each step we took in outer space.
The ocean releases oxygen into the air we breathe. It regulates the weather patterns that dictate our lives, and provides a home for ninety-seven percent of life on earth. Earle spent a lifetime pioneering the vast and complex world of oceanography, eventually becoming the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, setting the women’s record in 1979 for open-ocean diving, and even consulting on the impact of major oil spills during the Persian Gulf War.
Beyond her technical expertise, it’s her unwavering drive and limitless energy to conserve our oceans that make her truly heroic to us. She’s been described as the “Joan of Arc of the Ocean”, someone unburdened by the weight of politics, and a woman brave enough to stand up to careless tyrants when no one else will. Although this all may seem extraordinary to us, to Earle it’s just common sense after a lifetime of watching the ocean’s health decline.
Her message is simple: protect the blue heart of our planet. Today, roughly only 4% of our oceans are protected, and in Earle’s words, “you decide how much of your heart you want to protect.”
If you’re interested in helping Earle’s mission, take a peek at Mission Blue. Here at the journal we thank Sylvia Earle for inspiring us in all that we do.