Along with the world's rainforests, the ocean harbors a plethora of potentially effective drugs to combat human ailments and greatly improve human health. Many of these pharmaceuticals remain undiscovered or are in the preliminary phase of testing.
Everyone made it off safely and the crew then spent two days on remote Ile du Sud, with Mauritius coast guard air-dropping food, drink -- even chocolates. Nicholson described it as the worst night of his life followed by a night on tropical paradise.
To some, protected areas may seem like "traditional" conservation -- setting aside pristine places for the benefit of wildlife. And to be sure, protecting biodiversity remains at the very core of every conservation strategy in our toolbox. But protected areas also do much more.
Surfers are a surprising and small international group of very fit men and women, who understand and care deeply about the state of the ocean, not just the size of the waves and the health of marine life, but the ocean floor.
Returning to the Aquarius underwater habitat and Reef Base having spent actual time living and working in outer space, I found that its remarkable suitability as a perfect analogy to spaceflight was now clearly evident.
Whether it be for actions taken by the EPA or the State Department, congratulations to the Obama Administration are due for leadership on both carbon emissions and marine conservation. Let these efforts be the first of many.
Life is resilient. Evolution provides a lot of tools for adaptation. But organisms can only change so much, so fast. The fossil record provides thousands of examples of organisms that could not adapt to abruptly changing conditions and became extinct.