Opening Address: Michael AW: Dr Sylvia Earle


  • Dr Sylvia Earle
  • Dr Wallace J Nichols
  • Fabien Cousteau
  • Craig Leeson
  • Miao Wang
  • Anita Kolni

Host: Alex Rose

Moderator: Sheree Marris


Our world’s waters and the ecosystems they support make life on Earth possible. The ocean gives us breathable air, stabilizes our climate, provides us with food, jobs, and recreation.  Additionally, science shows that simply being near large bodies of water in nature such as oceans and lakes, makes us healthier, happier, more connected, and better at what we do. Moving forward, we must take bigger steps to ensure the protection of our planet’s precious aquatic resources. We need to reconnect to the natural world, curb the exploitation of marine resources, and take steps reduce our human footprint whenever possible.

This session was named for the inspirational book, Blue Mind, written by Wallace J Nichols. He opened up the discussion by talking about the incredibly positive impact water has on our social, emotional and physical health, as well as the need to avoid “grey mind” (burnout).  Anita Kolni, discusses how within the public sphere we can generate hope and an emotional connection to our oceans through collaborative works of art, science, images, video and music. Dr Earle asks us to focus on using our individual talents and abilities to enact change and do what we now know needs to be done to protect our planet. Fabien Cousteau asks us to recognize our interpersonal connection with our marine life support system that allows us to survive and thrive, and reminds us that challenges breed opportunities that bring about some amazing solutions. Craig Leeson addresses the need to tell stories that people everywhere can understand and relate to, enticing them to connect with our marine ecosystems in a way that asks them to re-imagine their relationship with the sea. Miao Wang encourages people to actively experience the ocean by way of diving, snorkelling, and swimming so they develop a direct appreciation for ocean habitats and the animals that live there. Michael AW wants everyone – individuals, businesses, and countries – to develop “blue statements” to guide them in making choices that benefit all life on Earth.

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