Do you know why I like Sylvia Earle? It's because I love the ocean and the wonderful beaches connected to it. Sylvia protects the ocean.
Growing up I was fortunate enough to have a dad that loved to fly. It was his obsession and luckily for all of us he too loved the ocean. My mother called our plane the magic carpet. Back in the 80's and early 90's we'd fly over untouched beaches and land on dirt runways. We loved going to places that people couldn't get to. And the shells that would line those beaches!! Millions! Walking the beach then was living a dream.
We'd have the perfect birds eye view as we flew over lagoons. Some immaculate and others, let's say, an exposed "drainage" pipe with a slick, didn't look to hygienic for those swimming near by at the four star hotel. It was easy for us to say, "oh hell no!" and move along. It was clear for me then, that the ocean was an easy way to dump waste. My mother reiterated her disgust as she spoke over the planes engines that filth like that would make us sick. I still see her pointing out the window, saying "look!." She was outraged.
My mother used to live in Florida in the 60's. She loves talking about the little beach she used to walk on that was covered in shells. All different shapes and sizes, not to mention the colors! It was a treasure box of goodies. She naturally called this beach, Shell Beach.
A few years ago she returned to her beach. I remembered how excited she was to walk those same steps she did in the 60's. But she returned disappointed. Her face was one of disbelief. Shell Beach didn't have one shell on it. They just disappeared.
Last year I was fortunate enough to go to Morocco. I was walking along the rolling dunes of the Sahara. I couldn't believe where I was! I could hear the oceans beauteous rumble in the distance and taste the salt in the air. I wanted to run into the ocean free! But when I walked over the final dune what I saw broke my heart. Here I was in the middle of nowhere and yet everything that washed ashore was manmade, mainly PLASTIC. There were a few crumbled bleached out shells, the kind you poke with your toe and move on. I didn't need a birds eye view to see the damage.
Sylvia Earle is the Muhammad Ali of Marine explorers and conservationists, she's giving us the one-two-punch for us to be active in protecting our fragile ocean. Glamour magazine just voted her one of the top inspirational women of 2014. Take a peek here. Isn't she a beautiful inspiration? The thing is, I think she's just getting warmed up.
This is my mom to the left with Sylvia! Sylvia was honored at the Explorers Club in New York. But I have to say, my mom is quite an inspiration on her own. Can't you see her pointing out the window of the airplane?!! Kids learn through their parents. I'm pointing, and I'm disgusted.
If you are curious about Sylvias foundation, it's called Mission Blue. And please, I highly recommend watching her documentary, it might change the way you think about fish in general. Right now It's streaming on Netflix. I'm not gonna lie I got a little choked up when she went into the Japanese Fish market in Tokyo. You could see the emotion on her face.
I know my story is long today. I didn't mean for it. But I couldn't help but ponder the situation. The world is changing. I'd hate to say, "back in my day" while referring it to wildlife, even if it's a simple shell.
Let's protect our oceans. I support Mission Blue.
Charlotte Rygh lives in the big town, small city of San Francisco. Mother nature is her favorite form of entertainment... Well, that, and a good movie.