87 Best Sylvia Earle Quotes from American Marine Biologist

Sylvia Earle is an esteemed American oceanographer and explorer, renowned for her research on marine algae and efforts in highlighting the threats of pollution and overfishing to the oceans.

Born in 1935 in New Jersey, she spent her childhood exploring nature, which influenced her later career.

By 12, she had moved to Florida, where she was exposed to marine life. Earle pursued botany at Florida State University and learned SCUBA diving.

After obtaining her master’s from Duke University in 1956, she earned her Ph.D. in 1966, with her dissertation focused on algae from the Gulf of Mexico.


Earle held significant roles in various institutions, including Cape Haze Marine Laboratories and Harvard University. Notably, in 1970, she led the first all-female aquanaut team for the Tektite II experiment, studying marine life and pollution effects on coral reefs.

She collaborated with the National Geographic Society and set the untethered diving record in 1979.

With her third husband, Graham Hawkes, she founded Deep Ocean Engineering and designed a groundbreaking submersible. Earle was the first female chief scientist at NOAA and later became the National Geographic Society’s first female explorer in residence.

She has published extensively, including acclaimed books like “Sea Change” and “The World Is Blue”.

I have listed below some of the best quotes by Sylvia Earle.

Best Sylvia Earle Quotes


Everyone has power. But it doesn’t help if you don’t use it. ~ Sylvia Earle.


We have become frighteningly effective at altering nature. ~ Sylvia Earle.


I hope that someday we will find evidence that there is intelligent life among humans on this planet. ~ Sylvia Earle.


No water, no life. No blue, no green. ~ Sylvia Earle.


Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea. ~ Sylvia Earle.


I personally have stopped eating seafood. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I’ve always said, ‘Underwater or on top, men and women are compatible.’ ~ Sylvia Earle.

When I first ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the sea appeared to be a blue infinity too large, too wild to be harmed by anything that people could do. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I am not in any hurry to grow up. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Even now, less than five percent of the ocean has been seen, let alone explored or even mapped with the same precision we have mapped the land, the moon, Mars or Jupiter. ~ Sylvia Earle.


Great attention gets paid to rainforests because of the diversity of life there. Diversity in the oceans is even greater. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I’m haunted by the thought of what Ray Anderson calls ‘tomorrow’s child,’ asking why we didn’t do something on our watch to save sharks and bluefin tuna and squids and coral reefs and the living ocean while there still was time. Well, now is that time. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Thanks to generations of curious, daring, intrepid explorers of the past, we may know enough, soon enough, to chart safe passage for ourselves far into the future. ~ Sylvia Earle.

By the end of the 20th century, up to 90 percent of the sharks, tuna, swordfish, marlins, groupers, turtles, whales, and many other large creatures that prospered in the Gulf for millions of years had been depleted by overfishing. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Famous Sylvia Earle Quotes


My parents moved to Florida when I was 12, and my backyard was the Gulf of Mexico. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Since the middle of the 20th century, more has been learnt about the ocean than during all preceding human history; at the same time, more has been lost. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Like a shipwreck or a jetty, almost anything that forms a structure in the ocean, whether it is natural or artificial over time, collects life. ~ Sylvia Earle.


The ocean is a living soup. I find that enchanting. I’m entranced by the abundance and diversity of life. ~ Sylvia Earle.

It’s a fact of life that there will be oil spills, as long as oil is moved from place to place, but we must have provisions to deal with them, and a capability that is commensurate with the size of the oil shipments. ~ Sylvia Earle.

With respect to the ocean being the heart of our blue planet: We are often asked, ‘How much protection is enough?’ We can only answer with another question: How much of your heart is worth protecting? ~ Sylvia Earle.

It doesn’t matter where on Earth you live, everyone is utterly dependent on the existence of that lovely, living saltwater soup. There’s plenty of water in the universe without life, but nowhere is there life without water. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Some experts look at global warming, increased world temperature, as the critical tipping point that is causing a crash in coral reef health around the world. And there’s no question that it is a factor, but it’s preceded by the loss of resilience and degradation. ~ Sylvia Earle.


If somebody dumps something noxious in my back yard, the dumper is the last one I would call on to repair the damage. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I want everybody to go jump in the ocean to see for themselves how beautiful it is, how important it is to get acquainted with fish swimming in the ocean, rather than just swimming with lemon slices and butter. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Success underwater depends mostly on how you conduct yourself. Diving can be the most relaxing experience in the world. Your weight seems to disappear. Space travel will be available only to a few individuals for some time, but the oceans are available to almost everyone – now. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Top Sylvia Earle Quotes

We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Knowing is the key to caring, and with caring there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Forty percent of the United States drains into the Mississippi. It’s agriculture. It’s golf courses. It’s domestic runoff from our lawns and roads. Ultimately, where does it go? Downstream into the gulf. ~ Sylvia Earle.


I find the lure of the unknown irresistible. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The most important part is to take on the challenge of protecting the ocean as if your life depends on it-because it does. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Nothing has prepared sharks, squid, krill and other sea creatures for industrial-scale extraction that destroys entire ecosystems while targeting a few species. ~ Sylvia Earle.

It’s mainly the high-end luxury market now that drives much of the fishing in the sea. It’s not feeding the starving millions. It’s feeding a luxury market. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Humans are the only creatures with the ability to dive deep in the sea, fly high in the sky, send instant messages around the globe, reflect on the past, assess the present and imagine the future. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Earth as an ecosystem stands out in the all of the universe. There’s no place that we know about that can support life as we know it, not even our sister planet, Mars, where we might set up housekeeping someday, but at great effort and trouble we have to recreate the things we take for granted here. ~ Sylvia Earle.

We’ve got to somehow stabilize our connection to nature so that in 50 years from now, 500 years, 5,000 years from now there will still be a wild system and respect for what it takes to sustain us. ~ Sylvia Earle.

America gains most when individuals have great freedom to pursue personal goals without undue government interference. ~ Sylvia Earle.

In terms of personal choices, let’s all think more carefully about where we get our protein from. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Popular Sylvia Earle Quotes

There is an enormous amount to be learned about the sea; like most wildernesses, it has great potential. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Scientists never stop asking. They’re little kids who never grew up. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I’m not against extracting a modest amount of wildlife out of the ocean for human consumption, but I am really concerned about the large-scale industrial fishing that engages in destructive practices like trawling and longlining. ~ Sylvia Earle.


We are now facing paradise lost. ~ Sylvia Earle.

What we once used as weapons of war, we now use as weapons against fish. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The diversity of life on Earth, generally, is astonishing. But despite those large numbers, it’s also important to recognize that every species, one way or another, is vulnerable to extinction. And in our time on Earth our impact on the diversity of life has been profound. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it. ~ Sylvia Earle.


If the sea is sick, we’ll feel it. If it dies, we die. Our future and the state of the oceans are one. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The bottom line answer to the question about why biodiversity matters is fairly simple: The rest of the living world can get along without us, but we can’t get along without them. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Protect the natural systems as if your life depends on it because it does! Our lives do depend on making peace with nature. ~ Sylvia Earle.

When I arrived on the planet, there were only two billion. Wildlife was more abundant, we were less so; now the situation is reversed. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss. If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment. A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber. I see a living city. ~ Sylvia Earle.

If you give up, it’s over. ~ Sylvia Earle.


Every time I slip into the ocean, it’s like going home. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you’re lucky enough to see lots of them, that means that you’re in a healthy ocean. You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don’t see sharks. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Just as we have the power to harm the ocean, we have the power to put in place policies and modify our own behavior in ways that would be an insurance policy for the future of the sea, for the creatures there, and for us, protecting special critical areas in the ocean. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Far and away, the greatest threat to the ocean, and thus to ourselves, is ignorance. But we can do something about that. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I suggest to everyone: Look in the mirror. Ask yourself: Who are you? What are your talents? Use them, and do what you love. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Inspiring Sylvia Earle Quotes

The sudden release of five million barrels of oil, enormous quantities of methane and two million gallons of toxic dispersants into an already greatly stressed Gulf of Mexico will permanently alter the nature of the area. ~ Sylvia Earle.

With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The Exxon Valdez spill triggered a swift and strong response that changed policies about shipping, about double-hulled construction. A number of laws came into place. ~ Sylvia Earle.

We have been far too aggressive about extracting ocean wildlife, not appreciating that there are limits and even points of no return. ~ Sylvia Earle.


You don’t have to touch the ocean for the ocean to touch you. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us. ~ Sylvia Earle.

As a child, I was aware of the widely-held attitude that the ocean is so big, so resilient that we could use the sea as the ultimate place to dispose of anything we did not want, from garbage and nuclear wastes to sludge from sewage to entire ships that had reached the end of their useful life. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Any astronaut can tell you you’ve got to do everything you can to learn about your life support system and then do everything you can to take care of it. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Most of life on Earth has a deep past, much deeper than ours. And we have benefited from the distillation of all preceding history, call it evolutionary history if you will. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Why is it that scuba divers and surfers are some of the strongest advocates of ocean conservation? Because they’ve spent time in and around the ocean, and they’ve personally seen the beauty, the fragility, and even the degradation of our planet’s blue heart. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Health to the ocean means health for us. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I’ve had the joy of spending thousands of hours under the sea. I wish I could take people along to see what I see, and to know what I know. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The single non-negotiable thing life requires is water. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Powerful Sylvia Earle Quotes

Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I actually love diving at night; you see a lot of fish then that you don’t see in the daytime. ~ Sylvia Earle.

If you think the ocean isn’t important, imagine Earth without it. Mars comes to mind. No ocean, no life support system. ~ Sylvia Earle.

If Darwin could get into a submarine and see what I’ve seen, thousand of feet beneath the ocean, I am just confident that he would be inspired to sit down and start writing all over again. ~ Sylvia Earle.

The end of commercial fishing is predicted long before the middle of the 21st century. ~ Sylvia Earle.

I love music of all kinds, but there’s no greater music than the sound of my grandchildren laughing; my kids, too. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Places change over time with or without oil spills, but humans are responsible for the Deepwater Horizon gusher – and humans, as well as the corals, fish and other creatures, are suffering the consequences. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Protecting vital sources of renewal – unscathed marshes, healthy reefs, and deep-sea gardens – will provide hope for the future of the Gulf, and for all of us. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Admitting something is wrong is always the first step towards fixing it. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and the corporate mandate to maximize shareholder value encourages drilling without taking into account the costs to the ocean, even without major spills. ~ Sylvia Earle.

Evolution is not something to be feared. It’s to be celebrated, embraced, and understood. ~ Sylvia Earle.

There’s plenty of water in the universe without life, but nowhere is there life without water. ~ Sylvia Earle.

People still do not understand that a live fish is more valuable than a dead one, and that destructive fishing techniques are taking a wrecking ball to biodiversity. ~ Sylvia Earle.

So these were the 87 top Sylvia Earle quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Mellody Hobson quotes and Pat Summitt quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar