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Women in Ocean Science: Sylvia Earle

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

March is Women’s History Month, which means we get to talk about one of our favorite topics (especially as a female-owned business) – badass women taking charge of their field despite patriarchal setbacks. It’s never been more important to lift up the voices and experiences of women in our world, and today’s subject is an incredible oceanographer named Sylvia Earle.

Sylvia Earle, Time Magazine’s 1998 “Hero of the Planet”, has spent her entire life dedicated to researching the farthest reaches of the deep, dark ocean, and she is still going strong at age 85

Earle has been in love with the sea since she was a small child and became the first person to walk the ocean floor at a whopping depth of 1,250 feet wearing an untethered, pressurized JIM suit. She was also among the first women to embark on an all women team of researchers in Project Tektite, where she lived on the ocean floor for 6 weeks! During this time, Earle and her colleagues were able to observe the plant and animal life in a more saturated way than ever before.

Sylvia Earle has transformed the world of marine biology and is the founder of Ocean Blue, “a worldwide coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas”. She is, in layman’s terms, a freaking rockstar. If you want to learn more about her work, check out the Ocean Blue website.

“We must treat the natural world differently, with respect, literally as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.” –Sylvia Earle

There are so many incredible women in ocean science shaping our world right now (just check out @womeninoceanscience on Instagram!), but the gender gap is still so prevalent, with only 30% of the world’s researchers being women. Here at Shark OFF, we are pushing every day for representation and equity in our own staff and in the world around us.

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