Humans are the only creatures with the ability to dive deep in the sea, fly high in the sky, send instant messages around the globe, reflect on the past, assess the present and imagine the future.
When I arrived on the planet, there were only two billion. Wildlife was more abundant, we were less so; now the situation is reversed.
Ocean acidification - the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is turning the oceans increasingly acid - is a slow but accelerating impact with consequences that will greatly overshadow all the oil spills put together. The warming trend that is CO2-related will overshadow all the oil spills that have ever occurred put together.
I want everybody to go jump in the ocean to see for themselves how beautiful it is, how important it is to get acquainted with fish swimming in the ocean, rather than just swimming with lemon slices and butter.
I love my Force Fins, which are the kind of fins Special Forces use and really are adapted from the fins of fish. They're very efficient. They are so beautiful, a pair is in the Museum of Modern Art. The set I have are ruby red. I call them my ruby flippers.
There are some who would like to see the oil rigs removed right down to the ground once their job is done, and there are others, and I count myself among them, who think that once they are in place they begin to be adopted by life in the ocean as a habitat.
Forty percent of the United States drains into the Mississippi. It's agriculture. It's golf courses. It's domestic runoff from our lawns and roads. Ultimately, where does it go? Downstream into the gulf.
Like a shipwreck or a jetty, almost anything that forms a structure in the ocean, whether it is natural or artificial over time, collects life.
We have become frighteningly effective at altering nature.
Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There's still time, but not a lot, to turn things around.
When I first ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the sea appeared to be a blue infinity too large, too wild to be harmed by anything that people could do.
Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and the corporate mandate to maximize shareholder value encourages drilling without taking into account the costs to the ocean, even without major spills.
We have been far too aggressive about extracting ocean wildlife, not appreciating that there are limits and even points of no return.
The Arctic is a place that historically, during all preceding human history, has largely been an icy realm with an impact on ocean currents. That, in turn, influences the temperature of the planet. The Arctic is now vulnerable because of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, with a rate of melting that is stunning.
The Arctic is an ocean. The southern pole is a continent surrounded by ocean. The North Pole is an ocean, or northern waters. It's an ocean surrounded by land, basically.
The most important thing for people to know about the governance of the Arctic is that we have a chance now to act to maintain the integrity of the system or to lose it. To lose it means that we will dismember the vital systems that make the Arctic work. It's not just a cost to the people who live there. It's a cost to all people everywhere.
For humans, the Arctic is a harshly inhospitable place, but the conditions there are precisely what polar bears require to survive - and thrive. 'Harsh' to us is 'home' for them. Take away the ice and snow, increase the temperature by even a little, and the realm that makes their lives possible literally melts away.
For heaven's sake, when you see the enemy attacking, you pick up the pitchfork, and you enlist everybody you see. You don't stand around arguing about who's responsible, or who's going to pay.
The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask question and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. 'Who, what, where, why, when, and how!' They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.
Any astronaut can tell you you've got to do everything you can to learn about your life support system and then do everything you can to take care of it.