2020 Winner

Sylvia A. Earle

for her thoughtful, relentless activism and pioneering research aimed at conserving the oceans for the good of the planet and of humanity


Sylvia A. Earle is a pioneering ocean scientist, explorer, author, influential speaker and conservation leader known as a global ambassador for the ocean. Earle was named Time magazine’s first, “Hero for the Planet,” and is the founder of both Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, and Deep Hope. Through these organizations, she’s headed breakthrough ecological explorations and effective conservation of marine ecosystems. And she’s spearheaded the development of technology for access to the deep sea.

New thinking, new actions

Sylvia Earle is the world’s foremost oceanographer and and has logged countless hours underwater since her first dive, in a Florida river, when she was 16. But where oceanographers like Jacques Cousteau introduced audiences to the wonders of the deep, Earle warns of their disappearance, educating people on what is being lost to pollution, overfishing, and climate change. She founded Mission Blue, which has been doggedly establishing “hope spots”—marine protected areas—in the oceans, with the goal of protecting 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Earle’s accomplishments are featured in the Netflix documentary, “Mission Blue.” Learn more

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