As many of you know, I am a big fan of this scientist’s work and global mission. I was sent this article today and had to re-post it here. Read it and Think.
The Sweet Spot in Time by: Sylvia Earle
An eye the size of my fist peered through the window near the bunk where I lay, half awake, just past midnight on July 20, 2012. A goliath grouper, a fish larger than my desk, swerved past me into the dark sea, its mouth brimming with small fish attracted to the lights of the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory, my home for a week on Conch Reef near Key Largo, Florida. For the tenth time, I was living under the sea, experiencing what I had dreamed of doing as a child, living out a fantasy that had begun with Captain Nemo, Jules Verne, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
One of my five fellow aquanauts, marine biologist Mark Patterson, astutely observed that we were about 20,000 millimeters below the surface—some sixty feet—in a warm, dry suite of rooms, with access to the best swimming pool in the world: the ocean. A rectangular hole in the floor was the entrance to the lab and our exit to the sea beyond, with the pressure inside Aquarius keeping the water from rushing in. For as much as twelve hours a day (or night), scientists who work in Aquarius can explore that richly endowed Florida reef, observe and document the behavior of marine life, conduct experiments, enjoy the perspective of a resident, and make the most of the chance to occupy what is presently the world’s only “space station in the sea.”
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
– Marshall Mathers “Eminem”
In 2002, these legendary lines defined a generation and introduced unarguably one of the best rap songs of all time. (Yes, unarguably. Rolling Stone said so. See 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. ) Personally, despite some of his slightly questionable life choices, I am a devoted fan of the real Slim Shady and his ability to wield words in ways that no other white boy from Detroit has ever been able to do. Or really any white boy for that matter, but I digress.
Recently, while working on a project I have been trying to put together, I had consulted the Google oracle for some much needed inspiration and came across a video in which I was reminded of these lyrics by the one person that tops the list of “People I Need to Have Lunch with Someday.” None other than the world-renowned oceanographer, advocate of the seas, and one of my greatest heroes, “Her Deepness,” Mrs. Sylvia Earle.
Now you maybe thinking, “Um…Are we really comparing Sylvia Earle to Eminem right now? Really?” Yes, ladies and gents. Yes we are. And this is why.
This video documents Mrs. Earle’s speech upon being awarded the TED Prize in 2009, bestowed only to those with “Wishes Big Enough to Change the World.”
First of all, don’t you just feel inspired. I get goosebumps every time I watch it. What a woman. What a vision. I have recently read Sylvia Earle’s book “Sea Change” (which I recommend you go out and buy right now) and she is truly a living legend.
Earle’s plead for the oceans and the life contained in them should be one that hits us all. Stating that, “our fate and the ocean are one,” Earle puts it well into perspective that we an inexorably linked to the seas and as such we are responsible for what happens to them, if not for our very survival. Since her speech in 2009, some things have indeed improved for our oceans. Initiatives are being taken to put into place Marine Protected Areas all over the world and legislation is being enacted to conserve what has been driven to the brink of extinction. I believe we are in fact on the forefront of major “Sea Changes.” However, many things have also become much, much worse. Pollution and marine debris are now ubiquitous in the oceans, fossil fuel dependency is unrelenting and despite protections being put into place, overfishing is taking a deadly toll faster than populations are allowed to recuperate. However, I do not believe that Earle’s message was all doom and gloom. Quite the contrary. Her’s is a message of hope. A call to action.
This was about the point in the video where the lyrics to “Lose Yourself” started playing in my head. Let’s compare.
“We have one chance right now to get it right.”
“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”
– Marshall Mathers
It’s so close it’s almost copyright infringement. (If Sylvia Earle listened to rap too, I don’t think there is any way she could possibly be any cooler).
Granted, Eminem is referring to the cutthroat music underground he had to endure growing up on 8 mile road to become the illustrious rap icon he is today and Earle is referring to the somewhat different, but equally cutthroat problem of saving the world’s oceans, let’s just say for argument’s sake, the message is essentially the same.
This is our one opportunity. This is our once in a lifetime chance to get it together and turn things around for the better. You must ask yourself, “Am I going to be apart of the solution or am I gonna add to the compounding problem?” More than that however, we are at the point where you must not just be a generation of thinkers. We must transform into a generation of doers. We must help to fulfill the wish that earned Sylvia Earle the prestigious TED prize in the first place:
“I wish you would use all means at your disposal–films, expeditions, the web, new submarines– and campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas–hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”
What means will you implore before opportunity passes you by?
To read more about Sylvia Earle’s wish to protect and restore the oceans and how she is taking action,
Check out Mission Blue.
Props to: TED, Sylvia Earle, Eminem, Google Images
And just because it’s awesome…
Warning: May contain explicit content, only play when the little kiddies are not in the room. Thank-you.