Sylvia Earle: The ocean is the planet’s thermal regulator. It governs climate, weather, home for most life on Earth because that’s where the water is. All life requires water. Where’s the water? Where’s life? It isn’t on the land. We are terrestrial so we have this bias about where the action is and what really matters, but aliens coming from somewhere else wanting to explore the earth, they’d probably jump in the ocean first because that’s where the greatest diversity of life is. I know it’s where most of life on Earth actually is. It’s where most of the oxygen comes from. I mean trees, yes; grass, yes; ferns, all the green stuff on the land, but the ocean — Prochlorococcus bacterium that we just discovered in the mid-1980s; didn’t even know it existed — is responsible for generating 20 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere. Who knew? One in every five breaths you take generated by a creature so small that it took a special technique and quite by chance looking for something else and stumbled on Prochlorococcus. Huh, I mean how many of you have heard of Prochlorococcus? Yay! Woo-hoo! Kids will be putting on their t-shirts. And we should be singing our phrase — singing the praises of this little guy. But here’s the thing. Just as we’re at the point of really understanding something about how the world functions, we are waging war on the natural world. Look at what we’ve lost just in the last half-century. Ninety percent of many of the fish in the ocean already extracted and along with it using techniques so destructive that the possibility that they could recover greatly diminished. Fifty years ago the concept of a dead zone in the ocean didn’t exist. There may be some troubled areas. Pollution was not just invented 50 years ago, but now there are more than 500 coastal areas around the world, not just in the Gulf of Mexico, not just along certain areas of the California Coast, but around the world globally mostly associated with where human population allows pollutants and things such as nitrates and phosphates from fields, farms, mostly agricultural but not entirely toxins that flow into the sea altering the nature of nature.