Called “Her Deepness” by the New York Times, the first “Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine and a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Dr. Sylvia Earle is among the world’s most widely respected advocates for ocean conservation. Dr. Earle has inspired generations with her scientific exploration and activism, and what her friend Judy Kildow of the Middlebury Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) calls “unparalleled positive enthusiasm and passion for what she does.” On October 21, Earle visited campus for a private session with Middlebury Institute environmental policy students, as well as a public film screening that was open to the larger Monterey community.
Dr. Earle, who also serves as a member of the CBE’s advisory council, spent more than an hour with students in the International Environmental Policy program’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management concentration. After speaking briefly about herself and her work, she emphasized that the future is in the students’ hands, asking them what they are passionate about and encouraging them to have a positive impact on the world through their work.
After a reception with CBE supporters and Middlebury Institute faculty, staff, and students, Dr. Earle introduced “Mission Blue,” a documentary about her life and mission to heal our oceans, to a crowd of more than 250 students, faculty, staff, and community members inside a packed Irvine Auditorium. Taking the stage to participate in a Q and A session after the screening, Earle received a standing ovation. The session was lively and her story and famous enthusiasm for her work had clearly inspired the audience. A student from the Translation and Interpretation master´s degree program who was interpreting the session as part of her academic training said she was even thinking of adding a second master’s degree in environmental policy. Another community member remarked that she had been inspired to renew her scuba diving license, and a third spoke of “a thousand candles being lit, inspiring people to help save our oceans.”