This TED Prize presentation by oceanographer Sylvia Earle is brilliant for so many reasons. First, right from the beginning the smiling, dynamic scientist had the audience in her hands by saying up front where she was going to go in her talk and that she would explain why it matters. Then she proceeded to do just that, to take us on a journey of education and enlightenment with an amazing display of grace, intelligence, humor, and humility at the podium. The talk was informative and cautionary, yet hopeful and inspiring. This talk came across well in the TED video, but live it was even better. As with all three TED Prize talks, you could hear a pin drop during the silent pauses as every audience member was totally engaged in her every word as the supportive montage of video images moved in and out gracefully and in sync with her gripping narrative. Just fantastic. Watch below or go here for more download options including HD.
A smooth mix of narration and video imagery
What was remarkable about this presentation too was the way Dr. Earle made her written speech sound so natural. And of course the way she combined the video imagery behind her was extremely effective in the live talk where the audience could see both the speaker and the wide screen. This is the kind of thing you can do too in your own presentations right off your laptop. If not done properly, this can be a distraction, but Dr. Earle demonstrated that if done well, such imagery does indeed magnify the message and the power of the visual hits people at a more visceral level. Below are some sample snaps and slides from the talk.
"Think of the real costs: Every pound that goes to market, more than ten pounds — even 100 pounds — may be thrown away..."
"We're putting hundreds of millions of tons of plastics and other trash into the sea." (Video of turtle "eating" plastic — powerfully visceral, disturbing imagery.)
"...millions of tons of discarded fishing nets that continue to kill..."
"Barbarically we're killing sharks for shark fin soup...."
An ice-free North Pole in this century? "That's bad news for the Polar Bears...and it's bad news for us."
"...the Arctic: We have one chance to get it right!"
"...or the Antarctic, where the continent is protected..."
"...but the surrounding oceans are being stripped of its krill, whales, and fish..."
Sylvia Earle: We need a global plan of action.
This slide features Dr. Earle's wish. (Only less than 1% of the oceans are protected, let's help improve that number in a big way.)
Spreading the word around the world — you can help
We — you and I — can help by at the very least passing on the link to this great presentation and sharing Sylvia Earle's wonderful story in hope of educating and inspiring others to take action. Also, imagine this: if the TED videos like this were translated into other languages with subtitles, that would be huge — and you can help. If you would like to get involved in translating TED talks into your language, checkout this program here on the TED site. You can contact TED directly here about helping with translation and transcripts (firstname.lastname@example.org).