"No Blue, No Green."

Sylvia Earle’s TEDPrize talk last night did not disappoint. Built between her comments about the relative fragileness of the ocean and its complex systems were a slew of passionate beliefs that she holds about the watery parts of our world. She quoted a poem noting: “Thousands have lived without love, none without water.” Earle went on to say: “No water, no life. No blue, no green.”

I could not agree more. The oceans may seem like a salt soaked alien world to many of us who cannot survive within its depths without highly advanced equipment and technology, but it is the lifeblood that sustains our planet and makes nearly all the terrestrial systems possible. Without our oceans, according to Earle, Earth begins to look a lot like Mars. Which is, as far as we know, rather devoid of life.

Using this sort of passionate language about our oceans, Earle went on to delineate the paltry coverage of protection set up for ocean habitats and not just the splashy reefs that get relatively large amounts of media coverage. She also mentioned the inky deep, the open ocean realm of long distance pelagic travelers, and even the seagrass and macroalgae meadows that feed coastal communities and nearby systems all over the world. According to her data just 0.8% of our oceans falls underneath the protection of an established MPA which means 99% of it is open to exploitation.

Alongside Earle’s wish that the public rally support for marine protected area creation she also asked that the public, that TEDsters, and that everyone begins to have deeper conversations about ocean conservation in order to gather support and consciousness and interest in ocean issues. We dont want to simply inspire the next generation, we want the current authority figures and power-weilders to know about the oceans too!

The exact wish: “I wish you would use all means at your disposal — films! expeditions! the web! more! — to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”

Her wish, her delivery, her focus; it was all exactly the sort of inspiring talk I had envisioned and her wish to the community is certainly attainable. As a marine educator, it is all the more exciting. If we can literally create a wave of new voices and minds and media resources into communicating ocean issues outward then we have a real shot at rallying around this wish.

I’ll try to keep WaterNotes readers up to date on Earle’s TED Wish and any developments that are inspired by her talk. But, I also challenge each of you to listen to the talk at TED.com and to dream up your own ways of communicating ocean science into the public. Writing blogs like WaterNotes is one way, but its limited in scope. Teaching classes at a giant zoo or aquarium is another, but again, people have to volunteer to visit your center to see you and learn. How can we get our messages out to the public to get the support we so desperately need?

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One Comment to “"No Blue, No Green."”

  1. What worries me most about global climate change is the acidification of the oceans. That’s the thing that really keeps me up at night … metaphorically speaking of course, that’s a long list of things, many trivial. But your right about the oceans.