“The oceans are kind of the last frontier for use and development,” said Amanda Leland, Ocean Policy Director at the Environmental Defense Fund in a recent CNN article:
The article goes on to discuss the evolving concepts for ocean ‘development plans’, citing that human use and development without proper management will do more harm than good.
This is all well and good, but my challenge to policy makers is this…show us how you plan to manage a resource that we know so little about!!! There are two critical missing steps. First is a thorough exploration of all unexplored regions of the ocean. Second is acquiring ONGOING and ROUTINE data monitoring all biological, chemical, physical, and geological processes in critical areas that are poised for ‘development’. The scale that this must occur on is massive.
Today, there are isolated sensor arrays, AUV’s, and various oceanographic cruises going on as you read this blog, but all are just scratching the surface. It boils down to money to begin with, and the ocean community will never see the money so long as the ocean is largely out of site, hence the majority of people will never prioritize its protection.
This post comes to you on a big day…the 40th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing. This was a mission that not only took us to the moon, but provided a glimpse of our Blue Planet from another perspective.
Our Earth is what it is because it is covered by water. Water ties together all life, all civilizations, and is our sustenance. We have a duty as citizens of Earth to protect our most valuable resource – water, and understand all of its associated properties and processes.
I think a little bit of a closer look will lead the masses to realize that with just as much focused emphasis on ocean exploration as space exploration, we will start to experience the Blue Planet the way it was meant to be.