Too Big to Fail: Oceans and Elephants

For lovers of the ocean, day two of SXSW Eco was like Christmas in October.

One of the most renowned scientists and ocean explorers, Dr. Sylvia Earle, used her time as the final keynote of the day as a sort of rallying cry for the oceans.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Dr. Sylvia Earle

To most here in Austin, she left us startled at what is happening currently to the oceans. And she would know. Dr. Earle has logged more than 7,000 hours underwater earning her the nickname, “Her Deepness.”

“The ocean needs us,” said Dr. Earle. “We have a planet that is in trouble. We have an ocean in trouble and we cannot think that the ocean is too big to fail.”

But, Dr. Earle was quick to express an optimistic future. A future that, if we act now, we can save the oceans.

“The decisions we make in the next 10 years will be the most important one we make in the next 10,000 years. We have a chance to see the world with new eyes. We have a chance to get it right. The army of kids coming along are a cause for hope," said Dr. Earle.

These principles aren't new or something that hasn't been expressed before. 

Like Dr. Earle’s passion for the oceans, our love for elephants is exactly why we’re in Africa trying to meticulous count every elephant. As she says, we cannot solve problems if we don’t know we have them. The stark reality is that as we continue in our census, we are realizing the problem is much bigger than what we had initially realized.

We have choices. Elephants do not. A beautiful and remarkably bright species is under threat and diminishing before our eyes. So as Dr. Earle said in her closing statement and a great challenge for all of us, “it’s time we ask ourselves, how can I personally  use my power to make a world a better place for all of us.”