On April 27, the Hamlin School welcomed world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Dr. Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. She is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.
Dr. Earle spoke for almost an hour to a room full of more than 400 students and parents. She made the following inspiring statements (among others):
-If anyone ever tells you can’t do something, ask why not?
-Every creature on earth is unique.
-We are the first generation to see the consequences of consuming the earth.
-The earth is all there is for the future of humankind and we have to take care of it.
-I was attracted to living things on this earth since the beginning of my memory.
-Get wet, get into the water of the earth, if I stay out of water too long dry rot sets in.
-I lived for two weeks underwater, having the ocean as a living laboratory.
-Women were not expected to dive, be scientists, or aquanauts.
-I can do what I can do to make a difference.
-Have the ocean be a part of your life.
Near the end of her speech, Dr. Earle spoke about Hope Spots.
Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed.
In addition to Dr. Earle’s visit, Hamlin students also participated in the following Earth Day activities:
-Explored the ocean with virtual reality glasses
-Wrote letters to government officials urging them to reduce plastic usage
-Watched the play “Plastic is not Fantastic” (performed by students in grades 3 and 4)
-Created pledges to support the environment
-Played ocean charades
To learn more about Dr. Earle’s nonprofit, please visit https://mission-blue.org/
Below is a clip of Dr. Earle speaking: