Stephen Colbert Asks: “Why should I care about the ocean?”

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In his usual glib manner, Stephen Colbert asked the renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle “Why should I care about the ocean? It’s deep, it’s dark, people drown in it, it’s full of sharks that want to eat us.”

With her disarming and winning smile, Dr. Earle essentially said that the oceans are the heart and lungs of the planet, and our survival depends upon the ocean to keep our atmosphere present – and in her opinion, the most crucial problem for the ocean is that we continue to over-fish.

Colbert then asked: “Fish is supposed to be the healthy food, right? I mean how else am I supposed to get my mercury?.. If there is one thing you can get us to do to help the oceans, what would it be?”

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Her reply was straightforward – “Make better food choices. Know what you’re taking out of the sea, and how it was captured”.

In her view, choosing what fish we buy can make a huge impact on the health of the ocean. Colbert didn’t ask her what is the most important change, he asked her what it is that we can do, so although there are other issues that may seem more critical, fishing practices are something that can be changed by us, in our lifetimes, that might make a difference to the future of our planet.

You can catch a video clip of the interview at, but if you have 20 minutes or so to spare, the following video is well worth your time.

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