Is it too late to save our oceans?

National Geographic and NPR are combining forces for the popular program “Talk of the Nation,” hosted by Neal Conan, live from National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.

Part of the program will feature two National Geographic ocean scientists, Sylvia Earle and Enric Sala, who will discuss whether or not it is still possible to restore health to the oceans.

Their discussion will follow a focus on the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, featuring Joel Bourne, lead writer of the cover article for the October issue of National Geographic Magazine.

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NGS stock photo of breaching humback whale, Atlantic Ocean, by Michael Nichols

Program Details:

HOUR ONE: The Present and Future of the Gulf of Mexico

Six months after the explosion and fire on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, we are just beginning to understand the dimensions of this environmental disaster. Never before has a leak from such depths spilled for so long. We will be living with its effects for decades. In this live broadcast, NPR and National Geographic bring together three experts to discuss the most up-to-date information on impact of the spill on the unique ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico: Joel Bourne, an environmental journalist for National Geographic Magazine and author of its cover story on the Gulf for the October issue on newsstands later this month, NPR science correspondent Richard Harris, and Professor Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University who studies life in the deep ocean. We’ll look at comparable disasters and what they can tell us about what to expect. From manatees to sperm whales to dolphins and mollusks, we’ll talk about the research underway, the range of animal species at risk–and the kind of actions that may help repair the damage.

HOUR TWO: Is It Too Late to Save Our Oceans?

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has put a stark focus on the fragility and vulnerability of the world’s oceans, the life-support system of our planet. In this live broadcast, NPR and National Geographic bring two of the premier explorers of our time to tell us about the state of the oceans. Sylvia Earle, whose legendary career as a marine biologist began more than six decades ago diving near her home on the Gulf of Mexico, has been an Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic since 1998, the year Time magazine named her the first “hero for the planet.” And, Enric Sala, a marine ecologist and a fellow at the Geographic, has explored some of the last pristine places in the ocean and seen first hand the devastation of the ocean ecosystems. Industrial fishing has depleted ocean wildlife, some nearly to extinction. Ninety percent of the large predators in the sea are gone. A third of the world’s fisheries have collapsed in half a century. Pollutants from agriculture, industrial waste and sewage have poured into the ocean, accumulating in marine organisms–even in the remotest waters of the Arctic and the Antarctic–and the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is altering the very chemistry of the oceans. The question is have we gone too far to turn it around?

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NGS stock photo of a newly hatched octopus by Robert Sisson

Changing Planet

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn