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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!”