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 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.
…we need real 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. These are all benefits to us, but how do we reciprocate? At present, we simply don’t give back – not at all. Our society and culture is on the take, and constantly searching for what more we can take for our own selfish benefits.
This search, and our resulting current understanding of the ocean is the direct result of the technologies which we have developed and applied in order to afford humanity with ACCESS to this environment.
…and while we still don’t know what we don’t know, we continue to take, take, take.
Due to our recognized limitations in these technologies – and motivations to put them to work (i.e. it requires a massive expense before we some newly selfish return) – there are unfathomable voids of ocean space not yet 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 incomprehensible reality for those who have never experienced it firsthand.
Continuing to take is not without consequence.
We, humans, and all life, are ‘from the sea’ if you will, and our Blue Planet must, can, and will find balance moving forward – the reality is that it will be with or without our species – species go extinct all the time.
The future survival and sustainability of our species depends on an intricate balance of [human] life with and within this unexplored frontier…that much should be obvious.
So, herein lies monumental ‘Oceans of Opportunity‘.
Well then what are we to do? While considering the ocean as a vector, its exploration goes much beyond the physical act itself. Exploration is equally a psychological pursuit yielding intellectual merits, physical discoveries, and advancement through all of the humanities. Herein lies opportunity for an enterprising model, and more tangibly, a viable and enterprising ‘business of exploration’ poised to turn the tide.
This model – a synergy between science, technology, and society – creates a vehicle to cast new theories which will drive the materialized evolutionary processes of these physical and intellectual pursuits, therefore improving our quality of life – if we think it, we can do it.
When balancing complementary motives across science, technology, and society, this model lends itself perfectly as a social enterprise – call this the real start of our ‘Blue Economy’.
Just don’t forget what this is all about – people, US.
As they say ‘to see is to believe’. Well, I am frankly and utterly disappointed, if not even disheartened, that the art and science of diving itself is not at the absolute forefront for any movement towards human sustainability here on our Blue Planet. Why is that? Well, for most, diving is viewed as fun tropical toe dip to look at the pretty fish – that’s important too, BUT we need to very seriously consider how humanity can physically intervene and operate within the massive and unexplored voids of Ocean Space because it is there that we’ll see what we need to see, discover what we need to discover, and learn of ourselves what will be needed for our future survival – the oceans live, we live – it’s really that simple.
There is no amount of remote intervention, robotic augmentation, or paper policy that can replace exposing each and every person on this planet to the underwater environment, personally, where they’ll quickly discover the many gifts from the sea.
It’s a huge endeavor – but finding renewed value in diving – the art and science of placing a person underwater to live, work, and play – is the paradigm shift needed for us to give back as thanks for all we’ve taken.
Let’s make diving important – imagine a new life in the sea … this is just the beginning.