Threats to Biodiversity

Why are so many people unaware of the threats facing our oceans?
Answered by Julie Packard, Sylvia Earle and 1 other
  • Julie Packard

    Julie Packard

  • Sylvia Earle

    Sylvia Earle

  • Bruce Robison

    Bruce Robison

  1. Julie Packard Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium


    Getting people connected with the oceans is really tough because most of us spend very little time there. Most of humanity lives on the coastlines, so that's the good news. People see the ocean, but they really don't have an understanding of what goes on there and how it connects with us.

    Obviously the main realm that I've dedicated my life to in terms of connecting people to the ocean is running an aquarium.

    It's kind of an interesting story, because our family and our family foundation, we didn't set out to think up the best strategy for engaging the public. We were involved with teaching and doing science here in Monterey Bay. That's such a remarkably amazing, rich and diverse ecosystem. We're really excited about it. We wanted to just share that with the public through building an institution that could do that.

    More answers from Julie Packard »

  2. Sylvia Earle Founder and President, The Sylvia Earle Alliance


    First and foremost, I'm a scientist. I've spent my life following my curiosity to try to figure out how things work. What makes the world work? And I have enjoyed the company of many scientists all over the world and benefitted from their insights and their knowledge. Somehow, scientists are not generally great communicators. They know so much. And they should be out there letting the world know what they know. And there are unfortunately rare individuals -- in fact, there's almost a culture among scientists not to speak to the public. I felt that myself, going back to the '70s, when I was a part of a project living underwater. It created a sensation in the media.

    And I was forced, as a scientist, to speak to press. And it was really hard for me because I worried about my reputation as a scientist. I didn't want to be regarded as one of those popularizers. And that's the culture: That once you cross the line, it's hard to be regarded with the same esteem, when you just follow your narrow pathway and write in the right journals and go to the right conferences. But I broke loose. I broke loose because I had to. Because somehow, I could see, based on what I know, that we're in trouble. And we can fix this if we act. But if you don't know, you can't act; you can't care.

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  3. Bruce Robison Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)


    There are a number of ocean-related issues that give me concern. We're not paying nearly enough attention, it seems to me, to the largest and perhaps most important parts of the oceanic ecosystems. There are lots of reasons for that, but as humans, we're focused principally on that which is closest and easiest for us to investigate. And because the rest of it is difficult to do, we've sort of put it off. That's the sort of thing that can come back and bite you.

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