Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to sit back and reflect on the journey that brought the problem to you. Late one wintery night, while sitting in a coffee shop in Providence, Rhode Island, I seemingly figured it all out…
There is no single word that encapsulates the ‘what we need to do‘ for our oceans, and possibly more importantly – ourselves, and now more than ever. For decades, scholars and advocates have exposed and communicated both the threats to our oceans, and opportunities that lie within it.
Now it is time for action.
Since humankind’s existence, we have depended on an intricate symbiosis with the ocean as a source for survival and cultural evolution. It harbors countless resources that drive our society; from a source of recreation and entertainment, to harboring clues into the civics of our modern world, to powerful natural energy sources, to life sustaining fisheries and new medicines. Our current understanding of the ocean is the direct result of the technologies which we have developed and applied in order to afford industry with ACCESS to this environment, thus striving to meet our current societal curiosities and demands.
Still, due to our recognized limitations in these technologies – and motivations to put them to work – less than 5% of our ocean has been explored, let alone thoroughly understood, further exploited, and its resources managed. Seventy five percent of our planet’s surface is covered by water…this hugely expansive area is incredibly difficult to conceptualize. For perspective, stare off into the furthest mountain range and imagine that space filled with water; that is only the tip of our iceberg.
Compounding the complexity of this vastness is that this area constitutes three dimensional living space – quite likely 95+% of all inhabitable space on Earth – which is an unfathomable reality for those who have yet to trek beneath the waves. The future survival and sustainability of our species depends on an intricate balance of [human] life with and within this unexplored frontier.
It is within these ‘Oceans of Opportunity‘ that will drive the evolution of ‘a New Life in the Sea‘.
My vision has evolved considerably over the past two decades. I have adopted the ocean, and its intervention, as a vector for expressionism. Through its exploration, I have been inspired as a humanities scholar, and a true understanding and appreciation of exploration has slowly exposed itself; that being a catalyst to drive humanity as we know it. While utilizing the ocean as a vector, its exploration goes much beyond the physical act itself. Exploration is equally a psychological pursuit yielding intellectual merits and discoveries. Herein lies opportunity for an enterprising model, and more tangibly, a viable ‘business of exploration’.
This model – a synergy between science, technology, and society – creates a vehicle to conceptualize new theories which will drive the materialized evolutionary processes of these physical and intellectual pursuits, therefore improving our quality of life.
Each pathway is an opportunity to harness many modern mechanisms that have yet to be employed in the ocean community – with a balance of complementary motives, this model lends itself perfectly as a social enterprise – call this the start of our ‘Blue Economy’. As part of my exploration enterprise, I’ve undertaken numerous for-profit and not-for-profit ventures and activities which strive to meet this model – science, technology, and society – capturing the benefits of each along the way. Some have proven successful, many have not. However, this model is emerging, and is reflected in all of my projects and programs, as it provides several tangible mechanisms to engage a broad audience with exploration, and a much needed improved human interaction with, and within, the sea.
Within the next several decades, society will again shift its full attention towards the sea, as our symbiosis becomes more clear and critical in improving the quality of life on this planet. My vision is to simply do my part, relentlessly.
Imagine a new life in the sea … this is just the beginning.