For someone who is so interested and passionate about saving our oceans, Rolex Testimonee and American marine biologist Sylvia Earle adopts an extremely practical approach to environmental conservation.
"The power is with every individual, and it is up to you to figure out what you personally can do. Everyone can make a difference: either through what you want to, or not want to do," she said matter-of-factly at the Rolex Perpetual Planet Symposium held at National Gallery Singapore on 15 Aug. While she believes governments and its various agencies have a role to play in protecting and preserving the planet, she thinks the greater responsibility lies with the people. "We make the choices. The laws and policies are only here to guide us."
Together with long-time collaborator and famed underwater photographer David Doubilet, Earle was at the symposium, addressing an audience made up of tertiary students, undergraduates, members of the press as well as selected Generation T honourees such as Singapore's primatologist Andie Ang and marine scientist Neo Mei Lin and Malaysian entrepreneur Rashvin Pal Singh. Both of them shared their experience of going deep underwater and witnessing the state of marine life in the oceans in the face of climate change.
In his presentation, Doubilet showed many photos of corals taken during his dive expeditions but one set stood out the most. Comparing shots of the same corals photographed recently and 10 years ago, the difference in the health of the colonies of the many polyps is visibily stark. Their bright and vivid colours a decade ago has faded to a dull grey—a clear indication of the deterioration of living condition in the seas.