Mission Blue is a paean to both Sylvia Earle and our oceans, both so inspiring in their own ways. An intrepid explorer throughout her career as a marine biologist, Earle grasped every opportunity to explore new oceans or plunge to new depths. Still active at 78, the beautiful and articulate Earle is a dynamo in a petite package. She combines scientific research with passionate advocacy for the oceans she loves. The oceans are a vital link in our exosphere: they produce most of earth's oxygen, they are a carbon sink, and the home of most of the planet's biodiversity. They also provide absolutely gorgeous photo ops!
Whereas 12% of the earth's surface is protected in some way (surprising stat), less than 3% of the ocean is. Earle's advocacy now focuses on redressing that with the creation of Hope Spots - protected ocean areas. She introduced this as her TED wish when she won the 2009 TED Prize, and director Fisher Stevens said he was inspired to make the movie during a TED-organized Galapagos voyage.
A lot of that has been protected in the last few years, sparked at least in part by Earle's efforts.