WORLD OCEANS DAY: THE SEA IS EVERYTHING

June 8th, 2010, posted by Jo Royle Tags: Campaigns, Jo Royle, Oceans

“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides” – Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

I think most of us feel an emotional tie to the oceans. Most of us breathe a sigh of relief or relaxation as soon as we set eyes upon the deep blue wilderness, a feeling of coming home.

My childhood memories are filled with sea side scenes: from being bungled into a carry cot, on and off various little boats; first sailing experiences; the first time I got tumbled by a wave to what felt like near death, only to stand up ankle deep in water. I set off on the path of wanting to master the ocean, to be the knowledgeable seaman (girl), soon to realise that a lifetime of learning will not even scratch the surface. The main lesson life as a sailor has taught me is that we must be responsive to the changing environment.

It continues to amaze me how little we know about the ocean; how it came to exist or the life stories of the marine life that inhabits it – such as whales and dolphins. It also scares me to realise how little we know about the damage that we are consciously and unconsciously causing to the ocean. I learn new things every day; for example, the effects of the toxicity of single-use plastic in our ocean.

The health of our oceans is directly linked to our health and the health of future generations. The ocean regulates the planets temperatures by absorbing a vast majority of the carbon dioxide we continue to pump into the atmosphere, while at the same time providing us with more than half of the air we breathe. These facts alone make the ocean our umbilical cord to life. We can then talk about the hundreds of millions of jobs that are associated with the ocean; the fact that over 1 billion people, mainly very poor, rely on fish as their main source of protein; as well as simply the enjoyment we gain from being by or on the sea. No matter where we live we are all connected to the ocean, yet sometimes in our hectic lives we can forget what is keeping us alive. Not everyone has the opportunity to spend time by or on the sea to be reminded of this connection.

World Ocean Day highlights an opportunity to keep the ocean at the forefront of our mind and actions, with a view to ensuring the future health of the planet.

This year’s World Ocean Day will sadly be remembered for the heart breaking devastation being caused by the Gulf Oil spill; it is certainly a time we need to be acting on reducing our oil consumption and re-assessing drilling policies.

Jo Royle,
Plastiki Skipper

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  1. Oliver Warden says:

    Beautifully put. I assume that the Plastiki’s voyage has occurred at all because we think we can save the oceans. Saving the planet seems to be a race of education. I just hope that like the idea of “peak oil” we’re not nearing a peak Earth – a moment of irreversible damage and loss.

    I think the Plastiki is changing my life. As an artist I already have the fortune of doing what I love. The Plastiki has done something that a few great works of art have asked me to do in the past. It asks me to dream bigger. It’s made me realize that my opportunity is an obligation. An obligation to inspire. Thank you seagirl.

  2. Randall says:

    Very eloquent.