When it comes to perspective, some can be considered as part of the “glass half full” crowd, and some as the “glass half empty” crowd. Essentially you could say pessimistic verses optimistic. When it comes to the state of our world’s oceans, it’s very easy to take the “glass half empty” approach. There is a laundry list of statistics that can bring even the most cheerful person down… 90% of all large wild fish have disappeared from the oceans, about half of the coral reefs around the globe have ceased to exist compared to just 60 years ago, and so many of our reefs that were colorful and vibrant even in recent years are in a state of serious decay. It’s difficult to fathom that our oceans, which contain 97% of the world’s water, stabilizes the temperature on our planet, and generate most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, are taken for granted. As vast as the ocean is, we know now: It is not too big to fail.
But alas – the much needed optimism! We are at an unprecedented, pivotal point in history in which the decisions we make in the next 10 years will determine the next 10,000. The human race may be the planet’s worst nightmare, but we are also its best hope. Global conferences have been held around the world, focusing attention on the ocean’s important role and the urgent need for greater protection globally. Many nations have shown leadership in increasing ocean care… establishing hundreds of thousands of miles of protected marine reserve. While only 2% of the ocean is currently protected, that can and will change. But the recognition of the importance of our oceans and the direct link to human prosperity and continued survival is vital. We still have a chance to take action and we must do it now!
It’s not too late. We can make our blue planet safer, healthier, and more resilient. I don’t know about you, but I want to continue to enjoy all the beauty that the deep blue seas offer. On every dive trip I take, I am so thrilled every time I see a sea turtle… I’m giddy with excitement when I’m lucky enough to see a reef shark. The cow fish, trunk fish, parrot fish, and so many other colorful species reflect beauty beyond words. I want to continue to see all these fascinating species, and I want generations beyond mine to have the same luxury. So stop and think for just a minute about what you can do to contribute. You would be surprised at how little time, effort, and/or money will make a difference. Let’s preserve the beauty and function of our ocean… one day at a time, one person at a time!