Heroes come in many flavors. I recently met Dr. Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, who has spent the better part of her 82 years studying our oceans. She was in town for last month’s Green Lens Social Justice Series at the Egyptian Theatre. She spoke before and after the screening of “Mission Blue,” a biopic of her and her passion for our planet. DeKalb High School junior Grace Bauling, a budding oceanographer who first became acquainted with Sylvia’s work through a summer camp in the British Virgin Islands, came with her parents Michael and Mary Jean. After the enthralling movie and the Q and A session, by happenstance I was at the base of the stairs where Sylvia descended from the stage to meet a lineup of her admirers. Grace was near the front of the line, so I was able to scoop her over to meet Sylvia. The two shared several minutes discussing how my young friend could launch her own academic career in oceanography. I escaped to the lobby to help clean up and a few minutes later Grace came out with tears streaming down her face. How emotionally filled she was to meet her hero! Heroes come in many flavors, not necessarily movie stars, musicians, or athletes. Many times, heroes are the ones who fill our souls and inspire us to reach higher, to improve ourselves, and help others in our world.

To hear an interview with Sylvia, go to https://onbeing.org/programs/sylvia-earle-her-deepness-feb2018, where she was interviewed by Krista Tippett for NPR’s On Being program.

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