With the acceleration of global warming, plastic pollution and destructive fishing practices, the health of the planet’s most important life-giving resource is imperiled. Washington Post Live, in partnership with Rolex, will spotlight the world’s oceans crisis and examine innovative ideas and solutions for keeping our oceans clean and working towards bluer communities around the globe. Join the conversation on Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00am ET with special guest Sylvia Earle, president & chair of Mission Blue.

Check out The Washington Post’s Climate Solutions section, in partnership with Rolex, focusing on the individuals working to find answers.


Mission Blue president & chair Sylvia Earle says in the last half century there has been an accelerated decline of the planet as a whole, including a sharp decline in ocean wildlife and coral reefs. “There are a lot of problems, but a lot of solutions, plenty of reasons for hope…The top priority, truly, is to understand we’ve got a problem. If you don’t know you have a problem, it’s going to be hard to do anything about it. We must embrace the natural systems that maintain Earth as a habitable planet and accelerate protection for the last remaining places on land, restore what we can and the same is true for the ocean.” (Washington Post Live)
Leaders at the G7 recently agreed to protect at least 30 percent of land and sea, globally. Dan Laffoley, a leading global expert on ocean conservation, said that while he is heartened by the announcement, more needs to be done. “Really, we need to go further. Really, we need to realize that it’s not just about that at least 30 percent, it’s about the whole ocean, it’s about how we manage the whole thing together…We need to go further and faster, and I think many people will still be saying that even with some of the welcomed news that we’ve seen the G7 countries come up with so far." (Washington Post Live)
Mission Blue president & chair Sylvia Earle says governments around the world, including the U.S., should take a look at policies that are reinforcing bad habits. “We still have laws on the books that were made when the world was a different place, expectations about what we can take out of the ocean, expectations about the ocean as a dump site, but we know better. But the habits that we have acquired have a long history, but we know we have to change if we are to move from decline to recovery.” (Washington Post Live)

Sylvia Earle

Provided by Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance.

Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and non-profit organizations.

Dan Laffoley

Provided by Dan Laffoley

Dan is a well respected leading global expert on ocean conservation. At IUCN he is Principal Advisor, Marine Science and Conservation for the Global Marine and Polar Programme, and has the global honorary role as Marine Vice Chair for the World Commission on Protected Areas. Through his work Dan provides knowledge, innovation and leadership on consolidating action for the ocean and devising new ways for delivering marine conservation which lever greater action and attention for our seas.

His proven track record involves working with leading scientists to create initiatives that bring new knowledge into policy on issues such as coastal carbon sinks, climate change and ocean acidification. He has a broad knowledge of marine science matters across multiple disciplines and a track record of working with industry, especially with the energy sector. He has a place on the Boards and Councils of many UK leading marine science organisations. Between 2009 and 2014 Dan was an independent advisors to the UK’s top-level Marine Science Coordination Committee, where he led on improving communication of marine sciences and how UK marine science is showcased on the international stage. He has a keen interest in how information technology can help protect the ocean and recently helped deliver Google Ocean, showing the public for the first time how the ocean is protected, benefitting in excess of 1 billion people a with a new perspective on the seas. He recently spearheaded the development of Smartphone Apps for MPAs including the 2012 launch of the first Marine World Heritage App with UNESCO, and the 2013 launch of the Sargasso Sea App. He undertakes extensive international conservation, education and outreach work and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, and in 2014 was appointed as Co-Chair of the Executive Board. In 2013 Dan was appointed to the Council of Advisors to the Ocean Elders who include Her Majesty Queen Noor, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Sylvia Earle, James Cameron and other ocean world leaders. He is also credited with formative discussions which have led to partnerships by IUCN with Google, Americas Cup, and Underwater Earth. In 2014 Dan was appointed to the Scientific Board of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X PRIZE – a $2 Million competition to inspire innovation of accurate, durable, and affordable pH sensors that will profoundly improve our understanding of ocean acidification. In 2014 Dan was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Sargasso Sea Project, Inc. In 2015 Dan was elected an Fellow International of The Explorer’s Club – the world renown USA-based organisation which over the past 111 years has been dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration, resource conservation, and the idea that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore.

For over 25 years Dan has been responsible for the creation of many key national, European and global partnerships and alliances that underpin modern-day marine conservation. He served as chief scientific advisor for the marine environment in Natural England, for over a decade headed-up the marine conservation programme for English Nature, and has also worked in a variety of other roles including special marine environmental advisor for the Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Strategy Unit, and for the European Commission. He currently chairs the International Ocean Acidification reference User Group spearheading efforts to address this major global problem, and in 2011 he convened leading experts to form the High Seas Alliance and developed new perspectives on synergistic effects of impacts we are having on the global ocean, to world-wide press coverage. He is Patron of the HMS Beagle Trust, dedicated to building a modern ocean-going version of the ship that Darwin travelled on, through a UK/Chilean partnership to inspire a new generation to explore, discover and safeguard the ocean.

In the World Commission Dan was elected as a Vice Chair in 2006. WCPA is one of the six voluntary IUCN Commissions and with over 1,200 members in 140 countries it is administered by the Protected Areas Programme at the IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. He is currently taking WCPA through a major strategic review to radically develop the role and focus of the marine work through the development and implementation of the WCPA – Marine Global Plan of Action. The WCPA mission is to promote the establishment and effective management of a worldwide system of network of terrestrial and marine protected areas, as an integral contribution to the IUCN mission.

He is an Honorary Visiting Professor of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth, UK (2007 – present), and has a BSc Hons (1st) Ecology (Biological Sciences) (Exeter) and a PhD Marine Ecology (Exeter). He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology, a Chartered Biologist, a Fellow of the Linnaean Society, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Winston Churchill Fellow. He travels extensively, has published widely and undertakes frequent talks, seminars and interviews with the press.