‘Green’ issues at last are attracting serious attention, owing to critically important links between the environment and the economy, health, and our security.
All through college, I had frequently been the only girl in a science class – which wasn’t such a bad deal.
America gains most when individuals have great freedom to pursue personal goals without undue government interference.
Any astronaut can tell you you’ve got to do everything you can to learn about your life support system and then do everything you can to take care of it.
As a child, I was aware of the widely-held attitude that the ocean is so big, so resilient that we could use the sea as the ultimate place to dispose of anything we did not want, from garbage and nuclear wastes to sludge from sewage to entire ships that had reached the end of their useful life.
Bottom trawling is a ghastly process that brings untold damage to sea beds that support ocean life. It’s akin to using a bulldozer to catch a butterfly, destroying a whole ecosystem for the sake of a few pounds of protein. We wouldn’t do this on land, so why do it in the oceans?
By the end of the 20th century, up to 90 percent of the sharks, tuna, swordfish, marlins, groupers, turtles, whales, and many other large creatures that prospered in the Gulf for millions of years had been depleted by overfishing.
Earth as an ecosystem stands out in the all of the universe. There’s no place that we know about that can support life as we know it, not even our sister planet, Mars, where we might set up housekeeping someday, but at great effort and trouble we have to recreate the things we take for granted here.
Every fish fertilizes the water in a way that generates the plankton that ultimately leads back into the food chain, but also yields oxygen, grabs carbon – it’s a part of what makes the ocean function and what makes the planet function.
Every time I slip into the ocean, it’s like going home.
Everyone has power. But it doesn’t help if you don’t use it.
Far and away, the greatest threat to the ocean, and thus to ourselves, is ignorance. But we can do something about that.
For heaven’s sake, when you see the enemy attacking, you pick up the pitchfork, and you enlist everybody you see. You don’t stand around arguing about who’s responsible, or who’s going to pay.
For humans, the Arctic is a harshly inhospitable place, but the conditions there are precisely what polar bears require to survive – and thrive. ‘Harsh’ to us is ‘home’ for them. Take away the ice and snow, increase the temperature by even a little, and the realm that makes their lives possible literally melts away.
Forty percent of the United States drains into the Mississippi. It’s agriculture. It’s golf courses. It’s domestic runoff from our lawns and roads. Ultimately, where does it go? Downstream into the gulf.
Health to the ocean means health for us.
Hold up a mirror and ask yourself what you are capable of doing, and what you really care about. Then take the initiative – don’t wait for someone else to ask you to act.
Humans are the only creatures with the ability to dive deep in the sea, fly high in the sky, send instant messages around the globe, reflect on the past, assess the present and imagine the future.
I actually love diving at night; you see a lot of fish then that you don’t see in the daytime.
I am not in any hurry to grow up.
I find the lure of the unknown irresistible.
I have come up at the end of a dive, and the boat was not where I left it. I had to take care of a buddy who did panic. But I was confident the boat would come back.
I have heard endlessly that fish are so resilient that there is no way that you could exterminate a species. We are learning otherwise.
I have lots of heroes: anyone and everyone who does whatever they can to leave the natural world better than they found it.
I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us.
I love music of all kinds, but there’s no greater music than the sound of my grandchildren laughing; my kids, too.
I love my Force Fins, which are the kind of fins Special Forces use and really are adapted from the fins of fish. They’re very efficient. They are so beautiful, a pair is in the Museum of Modern Art. The set I have are ruby red. I call them my ruby flippers.
I personally have stopped eating seafood.
I want everybody to go jump in the ocean to see for themselves how beautiful it is, how important it is to get acquainted with fish swimming in the ocean, rather than just swimming with lemon slices and butter.
I would love to slip into the skin of a fish and know what it’s like to be one. They have senses that I can only dream about. They have a lateral line down their whole body that senses motion, but maybe it does more than that.
I’m friends with James Cameron. We’ve spent time together over the years because he is a diver and explorer and in his heart of hearts a biologist. We run into each other at scientific conferences.
I’m not against extracting a modest amount of wildlife out of the ocean for human consumption, but I am really concerned about the large-scale industrial fishing that engages in destructive practices like trawling and longlining.
I’ve always said, ‘Underwater or on top, men and women are compatible.’
I’ve had the joy of spending thousands of hours under the sea. I wish I could take people along to see what I see, and to know what I know.
Ice ages have come and gone. Coral reefs have persisted.
If somebody dumps something noxious in my back yard, the dumper is the last one I would call on to repair the damage.
If we could magically transport ourselves back to the young Earth, when it was only a billion years old or two billion years old or three billion years old or four billion years old, we wouldn’t be able to survive. We would have a hard time surviving if we were transported to the time when dinosaurs were around.
If you think the ocean isn’t important, imagine Earth without it. Mars comes to mind. No ocean, no life support system.
In terms of personal choices, let’s all think more carefully about where we get our protein from.
It’s a fact of life that there will be oil spills, as long as oil is moved from place to place, but we must have provisions to deal with them, and a capability that is commensurate with the size of the oil shipments.
It’s mainly the high-end luxury market now that drives much of the fishing in the sea. It’s not feeding the starving millions. It’s feeding a luxury market.
Just as we have the power to harm the ocean, we have the power to put in place policies and modify our own behavior in ways that would be an insurance policy for the future of the sea, for the creatures there, and for us, protecting special critical areas in the ocean.
Large areas of the Gulf have escaped being scraped by trawls, crushed by more than 40,000 miles of pipelines, or displaced by one of 50,000 oil and gas wells drilled since the middle of the 20th century. Some places have been deliberately protected.
Like a shipwreck or a jetty, almost anything that forms a structure in the ocean, whether it is natural or artificial over time, collects life.
Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss. If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment. A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber. I see a living city.
Meat reared on land matures relatively quickly, and it takes only a few pounds of plants to produce a pound of meat.
My first encounter with the ocean was on the Jersey Shore when I was three years old and I got knocked over by a wave. The ocean certainly got my attention! It wasn’t frightening, it was more exhilarating.
My mother was known as the ‘bird lady’ of the neighborhood. Anything injured, or any unusual creature somebody found, they would always come to our doorstep.
My parents moved to Florida when I was 12, and my backyard was the Gulf of Mexico.
Nearly all of the major kinds of life, divisions of life, phyla of animals, occur in the sea. Only about half of them can make it to land or freshwater.
No water, no life. No blue, no green.
Nothing has prepared sharks, squid, krill and other sea creatures for industrial-scale extraction that destroys entire ecosystems while targeting a few species.
Ocean acidification – the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is turning the oceans increasingly acid – is a slow but accelerating impact with consequences that will greatly overshadow all the oil spills put together. The warming trend that is CO2-related will overshadow all the oil spills that have ever occurred put together.
On a sea floor that looks like a sandy mud bottom, that at first glance might appear to be sand and mud, when you look closely and sit there as I do for a while and just wait, all sorts of creatures show themselves, with little heads popping out of the sand. It is a metropolis.
Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and the corporate mandate to maximize shareholder value encourages drilling without taking into account the costs to the ocean, even without major spills.
People still do not understand that a live fish is more valuable than a dead one, and that destructive fishing techniques are taking a wrecking ball to biodiversity.
Photosynthetic organisms in the sea yield most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, take up and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, shape planetary chemistry, and hold the planet steady.
Places change over time with or without oil spills, but humans are responsible for the Deepwater Horizon gusher – and humans, as well as the corals, fish and other creatures, are suffering the consequences.
Protecting vital sources of renewal – unscathed marshes, healthy reefs, and deep-sea gardens – will provide hope for the future of the Gulf, and for all of us.
Santa Monica Bay is less polluted today than when I first moved to the area in the 1970s, because actions have been taken to avoid putting some of the noxious materials into the sea. I think people are more aware than they once were, the air is cleaner, water generally is, in spite of the fact that there are more people.
Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you’re lucky enough to see lots of them, that means that you’re in a healthy ocean. You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don’t see sharks.
Since the middle of the 20th century, more has been learnt about the ocean than during all preceding human history; at the same time, more has been lost.
Some experts look at global warming, increased world temperature, as the critical tipping point that is causing a crash in coral reef health around the world. And there’s no question that it is a factor, but it’s preceded by the loss of resilience and degradation.
Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There’s still time, but not a lot, to turn things around.
The Arctic is a place that historically, during all preceding human history, has largely been an icy realm with an impact on ocean currents. That, in turn, influences the temperature of the planet. The Arctic is now vulnerable because of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, with a rate of melting that is stunning.
The Arctic is an ocean. The southern pole is a continent surrounded by ocean. The North Pole is an ocean, or northern waters. It’s an ocean surrounded by land, basically.
The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask question and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when, and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.
The concept of ‘peak oil’ has penetrated the hearts and minds of people concerned about energy for the future. ‘Peak fish’ occurred around the end of the 1980s.
The end of commercial fishing is predicted long before the middle of the 21st century.
The Exxon Valdez spill triggered a swift and strong response that changed policies about shipping, about double-hulled construction. A number of laws came into place.
The most important thing for people to know about the governance of the Arctic is that we have a chance now to act to maintain the integrity of the system or to lose it. To lose it means that we will dismember the vital systems that make the Arctic work. It’s not just a cost to the people who live there. It’s a cost to all people everywhere.
The sudden release of five million barrels of oil, enormous quantities of methane and two million gallons of toxic dispersants into an already greatly stressed Gulf of Mexico will permanently alter the nature of the area.
There are some who would like to see the oil rigs removed right down to the ground once their job is done, and there are others, and I count myself among them, who think that once they are in place they begin to be adopted by life in the ocean as a habitat.
There is a terribly terrestrial mindset about what we need to do to take care of the planet – as if the ocean somehow doesn’t matter or is so big, so vast that it can take care of itself, or that there is nothing that we could possibly do that we could harm the ocean.
There’s something missing about how we’re informing the youngsters coming along about what matters in the world. We teach them the numbers and the letters, but we fail to communicate the importance of our connection to the living world.
We have become frighteningly effective at altering nature.
We have been far too aggressive about extracting ocean wildlife, not appreciating that there are limits and even points of no return.
We have taken the manatees out of the areas in the Caribbean and really elsewhere in the world, and this disruption to the system makes such systems vulnerable to changes as they come by, whether it’s in terms of disease or terms or global warming for that matter.
We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do.
What we once used as weapons of war, we now use as weapons against fish.
When I arrived on the planet, there were only two billion. Wildlife was more abundant, we were less so; now the situation is reversed.
When I first ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the sea appeared to be a blue infinity too large, too wild to be harmed by anything that people could do.
When I write a scientific treatise, I might reach 100 people. When the ‘National Geographic’ covers a project, it communicates about plants and fish and underwater technology to more than 10 million people.
Why is it that scuba divers and surfers are some of the strongest advocates of ocean conservation? Because they’ve spent time in and around the ocean, and they’ve personally seen the beauty, the fragility, and even the degradation of our planet’s blue heart.
With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.
With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea.