• Conservation Column

    by Ginny Michaux, MN'02, Chair Conservation Committee, The Explorers Club

    Sept. 1, 2012, Respectfully submitted to The Explorers Club LOG

    In a time when oceans are widely reported by scientists to be in peril from overfishing,
    garbage, industrial pollution, and climate change, who can better show us the situation
    than an accomplished explorer/photographer? With a picture worth a thousand words,
    it nevertheless helps when that photographer is also a writer and eloquent speaker.
    Anne Levine Doubilet, FR'02 has been photographing, writing, and speaking about
    what she finds in oceans for forty years, in thousands of dives worldwide. She is a
    great example of that important component of being an explorer: coming back and
    educating people about your findings. She says about oceans, "The oceans are truly
    threatened now, and it is a complicated picture."

    Anne Doubilet on Hoplo Reef, Papua New Guinea.  ©Anne Doubilet

    Another Explorers Club luminary, Dr. Eugenie Clark, MED'85 (See Log, Summer,
    2011) inspired Anne to think scientifically while observing underwater life with her
    artistic eye, allowing her photographs to convey scientific observations along with
    beauty. After working together in the Red Sea, Japan, Papua New Guinea and
    elsewhere, Anne says simply but emphatically of Dr. Clark, "She changed my life."
    From this watershed experience in her professional development, Anne says it is
    important for every explorer to have a great mentor.
    Over her working years, Anne has visited both poles and dived and photographed in
    most of earth's warm waters. She loves the "absolute visual chaos of healthy coral
    reefs." More striking to her now, though, is the visible and profound degradation
    afflicting these reefs worldwide she has witnessed gradually accruing over decades.


    Red Sea coral reef, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai. ©Anne Doubilet

    Once lovely Caribbean reefs are now covered in reddish brown algae, effectively
    suffocating new reef development. And the statistics keep getting worse: Threequarters
    of all coral reefs are now threatened, and without significant changes, by 2050,
    nearly all coral reefs worldwide will be at risk. Due to increased carbon absorption,
    ocean acidification will be the most important issue facing marine environments in years
    to come.


    Great White Shark, Dangerous Reef, Neptune Islands, South Australia. ©Anne Doubilet

    Anne Doubilet has dived with an underwater photography team for more than thirty
    National Geographic articles, and is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Her
    book Under the Sea from A to Z, is for children of all ages. Her solo photography
    exhibition, Coral and Ice, premiered at the National Arts Club where she is a member.
    She has written for the Explorers Journal and received the Platinum Pro Dive Award
    from Scuba Schools International. Anne serves on the Board of the Ocean Research
    and Conservation Association and promotes the work of Clean Ocean Action. She
    recently spoke at World Ocean's Day, June 8, which honored Women Working in the
    Oceans.
    She has served The Explorers Club on the Board of Directors as Chair and Vice
    President of Lectures and Programs; as Chair of Artist in Residence; and on the
    Conservation Committee. Her work can be seen at www.annedoubilet.com.


    Elephant Seals on the beach, Valdez Peninsula, Patagonia. ©Anne Doubilet

    As an explorer, artist, and conservationist, Anne Doubilet encourages young explorers
    to "Get out there and explore, witness, and document in whatever your medium -
    because who knows what you will discover, and what changes you will see in your
    lifetime!"