Last week, I embarked on a seven day journey to the Exumas, Bahamas…a place that I visit fairly often, and is considered a second home. On my flight down to the islands, I was overtaken as the turquoise waters emerged from the deep surrounding convergence of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Looking out on the horizon at nothing but water helped me to refocus on some priorities in life, and consider how or what greater purpose we all serve on this small blue planet called Earth.
As I write this, I am at the airport in Nassau, reflecting on the past week of working with a small and very dedicated team of researchers in the Berry Islands as they embark on what will be a 6 week study of the queen conch – one of the most important fisheries in the region. So much ocean….SO SO SO much ocean out there; and yet, our very resource limited community sets out day after day with one major driver – belief that they can make a difference. There is no hidden wealth in the world of the marine scientist or environmentalist. We are here because we want to be.
Sitting here at the airport, I have been casually observing the hustle and bustle of a ‘major’ airport here in the Bahamas, with most folks winding down a vacation at a the beach, playing golf, or rolling some dice. The ocean, aside from the serenity it afforded while on vacation, sadly, is the last thing on any one’s mind. This is so sad, especially considering that this is a nation built upon, and remains entirely dependent on the ocean for the state of its survival.
This needs to change.
But it is no small feat, and those stepping up to the challenge have to reach across so many disciplines to pull critical stories together that will affect the masses. The grassroots efforts are critical in generating momentum, but the support the ocean truly needs has to be big.
Now, we all tell sea stories til we’re blue in the face when encouraged, and most find this intriguing. Sprinkled with a taste of conservation minded forethought goes along way, but these anecdotes surely fade.
I remain convinced that humanity as we know it is undergoing some significant shifts. Just as cultures and communities evolved from the sea, we are again on an evolutionary path to the sea. Among the most impactful things we can do is everything possible to engage just one more person. It takes just one person to start a movement.
It may as well start with you.