Sylvia Earle is an American explorer, author, lecturer and marine biologist and the first woman to become chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a true, living legend and a scientist with merits so great that Time Magazine called her the first Hero for the Planet.
Sylvia Earle has conducted more than one hundred of expeditions in the deep sea, including leading the very first team of female aquanauts in 1970. An extraordinary, experienced diver herself, she has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, participating in several saturation dives and holding the record for solo diving at 1,000 meters. Her main interest as a scientist is the conservation of marine ecosystems and the development of new technologies for accessing the deepest layers of the sea. Her other major concern is for the preservation of deep sea habitats and for the protection of biodiversity, as well as the development of methods to making these fragile and sensitive habitats more resilient and more stable, thus countering the effects of climate changes.
She is experienced not only as a diver and a research scientist – Earle has experience as a government official, a corporate director and a leader of non-profit organizations. She is the founder of numerous exploration and research institutions and she is also the founder of Mission Blue, an initiative that sets out to raise public interest and gain public support for the protection of Hope Spots, special sites the health and prosperity of which are essential if we are to promote the health of our oceans.
Earle has authored almost 200 publications, ranging from articles and books for children to major scientific works. She has also participated in several documentaries – some as part of her Mission Blue campaign to protect marine habitats, other focusing on her life and career. Earle has more than 100 national and international honors, including prestigious awards such as the National Geographic Hubbard Medal she received in 2013, the 2011 Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Medal and the TED Prize (2009). Sylvia Earle is also the holder of the 2014 Glamour Woman of the Year award and the award of the Academy of Achievement; she was named the Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and she has been awarded medals from the Lindbergh Foundation, Sigma Xi, National Wildlife Federation, Barnard College, and the Society of Women Geographers, to mention just a few.