Planet Earth is an ocean planet, declares oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle. And yet, people do not immediately see the connection between the oceans and our global climate.
“No oceans, no life,” says Earle bluntly. “There is a climate crisis — but there is also an ocean crisis. We have seen just in my lifetime, the collapse of the great ocean food webs. We’ve taken so much out of the ocean and we’ve put so many terrible things into it that the ocean is in real trouble.”
Earle, 86, is a legend among ocean conservationists and deep sea divers, and is the founder of Mission Blue, a non profit organisation dedicated to public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas.
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She was in Singapore earlier this month to open a climate action exhibition “Change the Present. Save the Ocean.” organised by City Developments Limited, the National Parks Board and Ocean Geographic.
In this wide-ranging interview to mark Earth Day, Earle says of the future that she hopes for humanity to be at peace with nature. “We’ve been almost waging war on nature — destroying the systems that have taken not just hundreds or thousands but even millions, billions of years invested in shaping the planet in ways that favour our existence.”
Celebrated annually on April 22, this year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Invest in our planet’. Picking up on this theme, Earle asks: “Where can we invest in better food choices that are healthier for us? And certainly healthier for the planet?”
Watch this video interview filmed at the CDL Green Gallery in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where the exhibition will run from 12 April to August 2022 in support of global and national climate action.
For the full interview, tune in to the Eco-Business podcast, where she outlines her thoughts on issues from the role of Asia in climate action, to the threat of deep sea mining.