Sylvia Earle has loved the ocean since she was knocked over by a wave at age three.
Sylvia Earle has loved the ocean since she was knocked over by a wave at age three.
Photograph by Wolcott Henry, Nat Geo Image Collection

Interview With Sylvia Earle

Syliva Earle, NG Explorer, dives to the depths of the ocean to learn about the ocean and how to keep the ecosystem healthy for future generations.

Ever since she was knocked over by a wave as a little girl, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle has been fascinated by the ocean. One of the world's best known marine scientists and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Earle loves to dive deep into the ocean.

She has spent much of her life in or under the waves. Now in her effort to save the oceans, she wants to make it uncool to eat a tuna fish sandwich and to understand the impact that humans have on the ocean each time we eat seafood or use pesticide on the garden bugs.

She daydreams about:

"Going under water...Saving the ocean...Being a fish…Or imagine being an eel and with no arms or legs and just slithery body, slide around, and then tuck back in a burrow with just your face sticking out....I would love to slip into the skin of a fish and know what it’s like to be one. They have senses that I can only dream about. They have a lateral line down their whole body that senses motion, but maybe it does more than that. Or to be a blue whale, the biggest animal on Earth and to sense sound that has traveled over hundreds, maybe thousands of miles, and to have it as a part of my life. I daydream about that, doesn’t everybody?"

JOB: Oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

WHAT SHE DOES: Dives and studies the ocean and marine animals.

GREW UP IN: New Jersey and Florida

HERO: When I was young my parents were my heroes. Now all the National Geographic Explorers are my heroes.

FOR FUN: I dive

TRAVEL GEAR: A camera because taking photographs helps me to remember and to document, and a bathing suit.

FAVORITE PLACE TO EXPLORE: Always the next place I go to.

BEST ADVICE: Don’t take no for an answer and find out what you want to do and then find a way to make it happen. You can spend many lifetimes fulfilling the dreams of others. But if you have a dream of your own, don’t wait.

HOW KIDS CAN HELP: Go see the ocean for yourself and use your talents whatever they are to make a difference for yourself and for the natural world, because it all ties together. We need to make it uncool to eat tuna, or swordfish, or grouper, or snapper, or other ocean wildlife. Everyone can make a difference just by changing what they eat.