Key takeaways from climate communicator in residence Sylvia Earle

Inaugural climate communicator in residence Sylvia Earle.

“The ocean is in trouble, therefore so are we,” said Sylvia Earle who served as the inaugural climate communicator in residence at USC Annenberg’s Center for Climate Journalism and Communication this fall.

Through a series of public programs as well as group and one-on-one sessions with students, faculty and SoCal-based climate journalists, Earle shared her insights and guidance based on her celebrated career as an oceanographer, explorer and federal official. 

“We need to look at all of the natural world and do whatever we can while we can,” she said. “[W]hat is my reason for hope? I think I’m looking at it. You’re here. You have power and you’re dedicated one way or another to communicating the state of the world. That is really the best cause for hope.” 

Earle was the first woman to hold the role of chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She has been named a living legend by the Library of Congress, the first hero for the planet by Time Magazine and has led over 80 expeditions. 

In 1979, she set the world’s untethered diving record and pioneered the use of submersibles in underwater exploration. She has dozens of honorary doctorate degrees and was the recipient of the 2009 TED Prize for establishing a global network of marine protected areas that she continues to pursue in one of her many roles as president and chairman of Mission Blue and the Sylvia Earl Alliance. 

Having seen Earle in action in Antarctica earlier this year, center director Allison Agsten explained that she selected Earle because she is one of the most captivating climate communicators that she’s encountered. 

“Sylvia tells deeply meaningful stories rooted in marine science and her extraordinary lived experience,” Agsten said. “I knew she would connect with our communication and journalism students.” 

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