Oceans of Opportunity

The Age of Aquarius

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiFifty years ago today – February 4th, 1962 – a particular celestial alignment lent itself to our embracing ‘the Age of Aquarius’. This was of course an interesting time, with the Age coinciding with radical sociopolitical change, and the outward promotion of a liberal new world view.

Of course, the word ‘Aquarius’ share its roots with the word ‘aquatic’, of which this 1960’s time period also lent itself well to. The early 1960’s set the cornerstone for a multi-decade initiative to establish a human presence on the seafloor. In 1962, Ed Link – entrepreneur, explorer, & innovator – initiated a ‘man in the sea’ program with  an early demonstration of placing Robert Stenuit in a pressurized vessel for 24 hours while using helium/oxygen as a breathing medium at a depth of 200 feet. Robert successfully became the world’s first aquanaut.

Just a few short years later, Robert Stenuit and Jon Lindbergh lived for two days in one of Link’s newest developments – the Submersible Portable Inflatable Dwelling (SPID) – at a depth of over 400 feet in the Bahamas. The cascade of development fueled the next 20 years in ocean exploration; a focus on a permanent human presence on the seafloor.

Twists of bad fate and circumstance led to all of this collapsing, though one long term result was the ‘Aquarius’ Undersea Laboratory which remains among the only operable undersea habitat for scientific purposes. The Age of Aquarius did indeed come full circle.

But where are we now? Two steps forward, and one step back – to this day there is no permanent human presence on the seafloor, though efforts are indeed underway to embrace a new age revolution in human intervention of our oceans.  The best example is Dennis Chamberland’s Atlantica expeditions.

Twenty years of investment in the 60’s and 70’s is a drop in the bucket for sake of evolutionary change. We know more today, have improved means to collaborate and communicate, and improved accessibility for short stays on the seafloor, and most importantly – a demonstrated need.

Our Blue Planet is overcrowded and subject to increasing pressures imposed by we humans. It is our duty to take bold steps towards a cleaner, more productive, engaging, and respectful relationship with the 95% of living space that is yet inhabited…it is our fateful destiny and evolution to embrace an Aquarian age like never before – and frankly necessary for our sustainability.

Be excited, and look ahead…

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