Susan Eaton
2021

Susan Eaton

Geoscientist

Sedna’s daughters

meet susan

A geoscientist, journalist, and polar explorer, Susan focuses on the world’s changing oceans in the snorkel zone—from Antarctica to the Arctic. This is a unique land-sea-ice-air interface where charismatic animals and snorkelers commingle. Susan studies the interplay of plate tectonics, oceans, glaciers, climate, and life in polar regions. She has participated in expeditions to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica, Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Labrador, and Nunavut. Susan is founder and leader of the all-female, Sedna Epic Expedition (SEE) and has been inaugurated into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Sedna’s daughters
Nominated by: Bob Atwater LF'05 Kathryn Britnell FI'19
Class of 2021 Location Nova Scotia, Canada

My passion for scuba diving ended abruptly in Belize when I suffered a diving trauma. I emerged three days later from a hyperbaric chamber as a non-diver, but I soon made the transition from scuba diver to snorkeler and fell in love with the ocean all over again.

During my polar snorkel expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, I realized that Canada’s Arctic was warming at a faster rate than Antarctica and that the Inuit were being adversely impacted by the changes. Inuit society is matriarchal in its structure, and women are the community leaders. In 2013, I founded the all-female volunteer Sedna Epic Expedition to empower Inuit girls and young women in arctic communities and to inspire the next generation of Inuit women leaders to think big by equipping them with tools and skills to mitigate the impacts of climate change, ocean change and societal change in their remote communities.

“My hope for the future includes a world that achieves equity and equality for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women’s voices.”

- Susan Eaton

From the very beginning, Inuit were explorers. In the winter they crossed the frozen ocean via dog sled. In the summer, they explored the Arctic via kayak. Their feats of exploration and discovery have been passed down through oral stories, from generation to generation. Sadly, many of these stories are missing from our history books. From Greenland to Alaska, according to Inuit legend, Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea, and she is the mother of all marine mammals. Her legend is the inspiration for SEE, comprised of sea women polar explorers who are grappling with 21st-century issues.

Diversity is at the core of SEE’s strength and success. We value Indigenous traditional knowledge that has developed over millennia alongside conventional scientific investigations. My hope for the future includes a world that achieves equity and equality for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women’s voices.

never stop exploring

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