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Photo Courtesy Yahoo News

In 1953, Sylvia Earle was one of the first people to use modern scuba gear. In 1964, she was the only woman among 70 men to go on an underwater expedition. In 1979, she was the first person to walk on the ocean floor 381 meters underwater. In 1990, she became the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Her love for the “blue heart of the planet” has transcended across her lifetime. She was part of an expedition at the world’s only undersea laboratory, Aquarius Reef Base, during the celebration of 50 years of living beneath the sea. The research conducted during that mission focused on coral reefs and the overall health of our oceans.

Now the iconic oceanographer has a message about conservation.

“The greatest era of exploration is just beginning,” she said to Yahoo News. “When I was a kid, we didn’t have spacecrafts, submersibles, or the Internet. These superpowers enable us to do the unthinkable, and we have to do better. Humans have altered the natural world ever since we arrived, but nothing like what has happened in the past 50 or 60 years.”

Earle says a shift in perspective is essential to a sustainable future.

“We can’t miss the chance to take care of this miraculous place in the universe. Treat the natural world as if your life depends on it — because it truly does.”