There’s Hope for the Planet: The ‘Greatest Era of Exploration Is Just Beginning’


In an interview at Singularity University’s Global Summit in San Francisco, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle said we live in a remarkable time when “the greatest era of exploration is just beginning.”

Earle is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, founder of Mission Blue and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, author of over 200 publications, leader of more than 100 expeditions, and has an MA and PhD from Duke University and 29 honorary degrees.

“I think it’s in the nature of humans to always want to peel back the layers of the unknown. We look up into the sky and how could you not want to know everything about everything?” Earle said. “At the same time this part of the universe, our own home is still mostly unexplored.”

Greater awareness of how humans are impacting the planet is part of this new era of exploration, according to Earle. The more we know, the more we have reason to be concerned. But knowledge and awareness are actually cause for hope, Earle said.

“If we didn’t know why bother? Why care if you don’t know? But we do know, the evidence is there. That’s the good news,” she said. “We’ve got more insight, more new discoveries about how the planet functions, how we’re related in the solar system, in the universe—especially how our lives are dependent on the blue part of the planet.”

Watch the whole interview to learn more about why Earle has dedicated her life to the ocean, the way she views today’s environmental challenges and solutions, and how making national parks and protected areas, called Hope Spots, in the ocean can help.