My mother was known as the 'bird lady' of the neighborhood. Anything injured, or any unusual creature somebody found, they would always come to our doorstep.
If we could magically transport ourselves back to the young Earth, when it was only a billion years old or two billion years old or three billion years old or four billion years old, we wouldn't be able to survive. We would have a hard time surviving if we were transported to the time when dinosaurs were around.
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.
I actually love diving at night; you see a lot of fish then that you don't see in the daytime.
There is a terribly terrestrial mindset about what we need to do to take care of the planet - as if the ocean somehow doesn't matter or is so big, so vast that it can take care of itself, or that there is nothing that we could possibly do that we could harm the ocean.
There's something missing about how we're informing the youngsters coming along about what matters in the world. We teach them the numbers and the letters, but we fail to communicate the importance of our connection to the living world.
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.
The concept of 'peak oil' has penetrated the hearts and minds of people concerned about energy for the future. 'Peak fish' occurred around the end of the 1980s.
The Arctic is a place that historically, during all preceding human history, has largely been an icy realm with an impact on ocean currents. That, in turn, influences the temperature of the planet. The Arctic is now vulnerable because of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, with a rate of melting that is stunning.
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.
Every fish fertilizes the water in a way that generates the plankton that ultimately leads back into the food chain, but also yields oxygen, grabs carbon - it's a part of what makes the ocean function and what makes the planet function.
All through college, I had frequently been the only girl in a science class - which wasn't such a bad deal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most important thing for people to know about the governance of the Arctic is that we have a chance now to act to maintain the integrity of the system or to lose it. To lose it means that we will dismember the vital systems that make the Arctic work. It's not just a cost to the people who live there. It's a cost to all people everywhere.
I have lots of heroes: anyone and everyone who does whatever they can to leave the natural world better than they found it.
'Green' issues at last are attracting serious attention, owing to critically important links between the environment and the economy, health, and our security.
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.
With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea.
On a sea floor that looks like a sandy mud bottom, that at first glance might appear to be sand and mud, when you look closely and sit there as I do for a while and just wait, all sorts of creatures show themselves, with little heads popping out of the sand. It is a metropolis.
For humans, the Arctic is a harshly inhospitable place, but the conditions there are precisely what polar bears require to survive - and thrive. 'Harsh' to us is 'home' for them. Take away the ice and snow, increase the temperature by even a little, and the realm that makes their lives possible literally melts away.
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.
We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do.
There are some who would like to see the oil rigs removed right down to the ground once their job is done, and there are others, and I count myself among them, who think that once they are in place they begin to be adopted by life in the ocean as a habitat.
I'm friends with James Cameron. We've spent time together over the years because he is a diver and explorer and in his heart of hearts a biologist. We run into each other at scientific conferences.
Nearly all of the major kinds of life, divisions of life, phyla of animals, occur in the sea. Only about half of them can make it to land or freshwater.
The end of commercial fishing is predicted long before the middle of the 21st century.
Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There's still time, but not a lot, to turn things around.
Santa Monica Bay is less polluted today than when I first moved to the area in the 1970s, because actions have been taken to avoid putting some of the noxious materials into the sea. I think people are more aware than they once were, the air is cleaner, water generally is, in spite of the fact that there are more people.
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.
With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.
If somebody dumps something noxious in my back yard, the dumper is the last one I would call on to repair the damage.
We have taken the manatees out of the areas in the Caribbean and really elsewhere in the world, and this disruption to the system makes such systems vulnerable to changes as they come by, whether it's in terms of disease or terms or global warming for that matter.
In terms of personal choices, let's all think more carefully about where we get our protein from.
I love music of all kinds, but there's no greater music than the sound of my grandchildren laughing; my kids, too.
Bottom trawling is a ghastly process that brings untold damage to sea beds that support ocean life. It's akin to using a bulldozer to catch a butterfly, destroying a whole ecosystem for the sake of a few pounds of protein. We wouldn't do this on land, so why do it in the oceans?
Ocean acidification - the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is turning the oceans increasingly acid - is a slow but accelerating impact with consequences that will greatly overshadow all the oil spills put together. The warming trend that is CO2-related will overshadow all the oil spills that have ever occurred put together.
I've always said, 'Underwater or on top, men and women are compatible.'
Hold up a mirror and ask yourself what you are capable of doing, and what you really care about. Then take the initiative - don't wait for someone else to ask you to act.
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.
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.
The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask question and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. 'Who, what, where, why, when, and how!' They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.
We have been far too aggressive about extracting ocean wildlife, not appreciating that there are limits and even points of no return.