Upon accepting her award, Dr. Shaw told the audience, “When I became a Fellow five years ago, I could not have envisioned that I would be diving into an oil slick off the Louisiana coast to see what chemical dispersants were doing underwater or be part of a federal scientific team that would influence policy following the largest environmental disaster in our history. But this is what explorers do – we survey the situation, face the challenges and dive in. And we all take risks in the process. Today explorers are taking the lead in the fight to save our oceans – expanding marine protected areas, pushing for safe drilling, sounder spill response and a stop to the pollution that’s destroying the marine food chain upon which we depend. You will see us at the global forums and in the trenches of research and innovation. We have less than 10 years to do this, and we will not get another chance. This is the time to act – the oceans, and therefore life on earth, are in our hands.”
A three-minute video was also played to highlight Dr. Shaw’s insight and research on the imperiled state of the world’s oceans, marine mammals and the environmental impact of toxic chemicals in the marine environment.
The video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/
Following Saturday’s dinner and award ceremony, Dr. Shaw delivered a Sunday Lecture at the Explorers Club on the environmental risks to the ocean environment associated with the recent drilling to pierce the polar ice sheet at Lake Vostok, Antarctica.
Dr. Shaw is the founder and chair of the Explorers Club State of The Oceans Forums focusing world attention on the threats to the health of the oceans and calling for protective actions.
Dr. Shaw was elected a Fellow of the Explorers Club five years ago. Their membership can claim an illustrious series of famous firsts: first to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon. Women were first admitted to the Club in 1981 and presently comprise about 20 percent of the membership.
“For over a century, the Explorers Club has served as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide, and we are proud to recognize Dr. Shaw as an influential voice on the preservation of the world’s oceans with the Citation of Merit,” said Matt Williams, Executive Director of the Explorers Club. “Her research and passionate advocacy are helping to forge a pathway for explorers everywhere by emphasizing the importance of saving our oceans for current and future generations.”
About Dr. Susan Shaw
A marine toxicologist, explorer, author, and passionate ocean advocate, Susan Shaw is widely known for her pioneering research on the toxic legacy of man-made chemicals in the ocean environment. She is credited as the first scientist to show that flame retardant chemicals used in consumer products have contaminated marine mammals and commercially important fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic.
An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May 2010 and has informed the national debate on the hazards of chemical dispersants. She currently leads an investigation on the effects of oil and chemical dispersants in the Gulf ecosystem and serves on the U.S. Department of Interior’s Strategic Sciences Working Group, a team of scientists charged with assessing consequences of the oil spill and recommending policy actions. She appears in several documentary films on the Gulf disaster including Animal Planet’s Black Tide: Voices of the Gulf and Green Planet’s The Big Fix, the Official Selection documentary at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. She also spoke at two TEDx conferences about the aftermath of the BP oil spill.
Shaw chairs The Explorers Club State of the Oceans Forums highlighting solutions to the crisis facing the world’s oceans.
A Fulbright Scholar with dual degrees from Columbia University in film and public health/environmental health sciences, Shaw published Overexposure, the first book on the health hazards of photographic chemicals, in 1983 with Ansel Adams. She is the director and founder of the Marine Environmental Research Institute (http://www.meriresearch.org) and Professor at The School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, State University of New York, Albany.
The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Shaw is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and was named Gulf of Maine “Visionary”
About the Explorers Club
The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. Since its inception in 1904, the Club has served as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide. The Club’s headquarters is located at 46 East 70th Street in New York City.