The information revolution may turn everyday people into ocean conservationists.
Question: What is your greatest hope for the state of the oceans 40 years from now?
Sylvia Earle: I'm an optimist, despite many reasons for being concerned. It's easy to get depressed looking at what's happening. Japan coming in and really interfering with a process that might have given hope for bluefin tuna at the CITES conference that would have inhibited trade, international trade for these greatly endangered magnificent creatures. That is cause for despair, but it also ignites a kind of increased desire to go out and do something that will change things, to turn it around, so you pull out of the jaws of defeat something that looks like greater reasons for hope. One reason that I have for being an optimist is that we have means of communication now that didn't exist even ten years ago. I look at the phenomenon called Google Earth and how the Googlers have stepped up and not only used this wonderful format Google Earth to inform people about what is happening on the land, but now to fill out the ocean. There is now an ocean in Google Earth with hope spots embedded in it, so anyone, any little kid, any grown-up, any CEO, any teacher, any fisherman, anybody can hold the world in their hands and see what is happening with the information that is embedded within Google Earth, within Google Ocean. You can go track Mission Blue. You can engage with a scientist. You can send messages to others around the other side of the planet and instantly they'll find answer or they'll get... and answer you. This to me is the greatest reason for hope, that we're developing this fabric of knowledge with people who, once they know may be inspired to care. It's the only thing that will cause people to care, knowing and with knowing the caring that comes through is cause for hope that we'll find an enduring place for ourselves within the natural world, the natural systems, mostly blue, that keep us alive.
Recorded April 14th, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen