Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, PhD is known as “Her Deepness” for having spent long hours in a submersible to explore the depths of our ocean. After she descended to the bottom of our ocean on several occasions, Dr. Earle (1935 –   ) was shocked to discover the ocean floor is littered with plastic. She is Explorer-in-Residence for the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY and resides in San Francisco. Mission Blue and Sylvia Earle Alliance are website links to this defender of an ocean in decline.

February 22, Dr. Earle spoke to several hundred who attended the 19th Annual Summit on Environmental Law & Policy in Tulane University. During her compelling final message, she said “The next decade may be the most important in human history.”

Her power point lecture of nearly one hour was replete with photos of coral reefs changing colors as they die ,huge fish from decades ago that are now unable to reach maturity from being victimized by over fishing and ocean pollution.

Why would Dr. Earle have told the Tulane audience, “The next decade may be the most important in human history?

Her gripping presentation of the ocean future left listeners with a responsibility of speaking and acting to preserve the ocean upon which we depend for life.

How is the coming decade the most important in history? Island nations now experiencing inundation by our rising ocean are our foremost clue. President Nasheed of the Maldives urges all nations to make a decision for carbon neutrality to curtail ocean warming and rising. Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica are striving to be first among 195 nations to attain carbon neutrality by transitioning to renewable energy sources. Surrounded by a rising ocean, Nasheed comments on carbon neutrality: ”In that regard, I would invite everyone living in a country that has not signed up to carbon neutrality to ask their elected representatives why they are dragging their feet on the most important issue in human history.”(Climate Change and the Ocean, p.66)

There are 180,000 odd islands, not all populated. They  comprise one fifth of Earth’s plant and animal species.

Scientists report about half of recorded extinctions occur on islands. Humans cannot afford the psychological trauma of more species loss. We are personally  among  endangered beings in a world addicted to burning billions of tons of fossil fuels.

Will wise decisions be made in the next decade?