Oceans of Inspiration

Brandon M. Breen


National Geographic explorer in residence, deep-sea diver and ocean advocate Sylvia Earle addressed a crowd of more than 500 May 12 at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis, the third and final speaker in the Institute on the Environment's groundbreaking Momentum 2011 event series.

To say her talk was inspirational is an understatement. With lyrical words and stunning underwater images, Earle conveyed not only her passion for what she calls "the blue heart of the planet," but also her conviction that we must - and, encouragingly, can - rescue it from overfishing, climate change and other onslaughts it faces today.

To truly appreciate Earle's message, you'll just have to catch it yourself (see below). But here are a few nuggets to tide you over:

  • "We now know what we could not know just a few decades ago. ... Now that we know, there's no excuse."
  • "As long as you can breathe, you can dive."
  • "A submersible is so easy to drive, even a scientist can do it."
  • "We just don't know [how many species there are in the ocean]. What we are beginning to recognize is that it matters."
  • "No child should be left dry."
  • "We are a part of nature, not apart from it."
  • "If you want to get perspective, go get a kid. Go out to some wild place and see the future through their eyes."
  • "The next 10 years are likely to be the most important in the next 10,000."
  • "I, for one, am a hope-aholic. I ask you to join me in that endeavor."
  • "We now know that nature is not an option. Nature is not a luxury. Nature is us."
  • "It's only individuals who do make a difference. ... What is it that each of you has that can change the world around you?"

A video of Sylvia Earle's Momentum 2011 presentation will be available online later this month. Email momentum@umn.edu to be notified when it's posted. And visit the Momentum website regularly for news on Momentum 2012, coming next spring!

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Event Series

  • Momentum 2011
    The Momentum event series brings today’s leading environmental visionaries to the Twin Cities to deliver thought-provoking presentations.