Erika Woolsey is all about taking the plunge and experiencing Earth’s oceans for oneself -- even if that means harnessing the power of virtual reality and 3D coral models to do it. She is a marine biologist, National Geographic Explorer, and CEO of The Hydrous, a nonprofit that aims to create open access oceans for the public to explore the world’s threatened waters using VR and photogrammetry.
IOFF: Why are you passionate about our oceans?
Woolsey: I’m passionate about ocean science because marine life is beautiful and fascinating, and because the ocean is too amazing and too threatened not to explore, understand, and share.
IOFF: How has Sylvia Earle’s work pioneered the way for others in this field?
Woolsey: Dr. Earle is a pioneering scientist for her contributions to the fields of marine biology and phycology. She is a pioneering explorer for living thousands of hours underwater. She is a pioneering public servant as the first woman to become Chief Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She is also a pioneer for ocean activism, calling on world leader’s to protect the ‘blue heart of our planet’ with a global network of marine protected areas.
IOFF: What is an example of recent policy changes or conservation wins that are good for the ocean and planet? How can we catalyze more of those?
Woolsey: I'm proud of the California Climate Policy to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. California's economic and political clout influences policy throughout the country and the world, so our individual power as citizens and consumers have real impact.
We look forward to sharing more Sylvia Stories leading up to the benefit. Make sure to follow us on social media and use the hashtag #SylviaStories to share your own story.
The Off the Reef Fall Benefit is hosted Saturday November 2nd in San Francisco, CA. All proceeds benefit the Student Education Program a free film program hosted in March for over 1,200 Bay Area middle and high school students. For more information and tickets to Off the Reef, visit our website here.