When World Oceans Day came and went last month, the 70% of our planet that is covered in saltwater received a colorful salute across many of our most popular internet hotspots. Social media channels were flooded with a wash of oceanic imagery as artful shots of playful dolphins, coral reefs, and idyllic atolls ushered environmental well-wishes onto billions of screens around the world. It was an outpouring of hope and beauty worthy of celebration. It was a beautiful moment. And then it was over.
While this kind of sizzle and flash is heartening insofar as it underscores our fascination with the aquatic realm, armchair advocacy -- especially when relegated to only one day out of 365 -- is not enough to address the problems at hand.
It is no secret that our oceans are in crisis; the alarm bells continue to toll with the creeping approach of full ecosystem collapse. We have been hearing them for so long now, in fact, that they are almost impossible to separate from the surrounding din.
Assailed by this constant wail of catastrophe, there is a point at which we simply stop listening. The roar of the crisis makes it difficult to maintain the optimism and energy we need to address the challenges facing us. It overwhelms us. We give up, we shut down, and things get worse.
Without ignoring the reality of the problems facing us, we need to focus on positives: beauty, innovation, cooperation, and success. These are the keys that will keep us enthusiastic and energized so we can accomplish the work that must be done. As such, we owe it to ourselves to acknowledge those individuals that are doing so much to heal our oceans.
"There are too many good people doing too many good things for me to afford the luxury of being pessimistic." -Utah Phillips
In partnership with the talented media team at maven.io, I am proud to launch Code Blue Ocean, a platform to acknowledge those passionate individuals who are responding to the distress call of our ailing marine environment. CBO is not just another home for ecological doomspeak; rather, it is spotlight for those who are trying to solve the problems facing our oceans through creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. Additionally, CBO will serve as an alert system, a discussion platform, and a victory wall.
I believe medical metaphor to be appropriate for the relationship we need to cultivate with our ailing planet, and as such, articles here at CBO will be organized as follows:
Sirens are exactly that: emergency wailings that require our attention (not to mention that I couldn’t resist the pun). I will be posting some grim realities here; they are in no short supply when one is considering the state of our shuddering planet. But crisis is high-octane fuel for the engine of the human spirit, and it is my hope that CBO will be able to do its small part to kickstart the motor.
First Responders are the inspiring, innovative leaders — from individuals to organizations, and from small communities to great nations — that have taken it upon themselves to stand up for our oceans, each in their own way. These are the heroes that, on more than one occasion, have given me the strength to carry on. I am proud to do my small part to give them the limelight they deserve. I am also hopeful this creates opportunities for the networking and cross-sector partnerships we need to develop truly innovative solutions.
Diagnosis and Treatment is a room for the ongoing discussion and exploration of critical issues. It will also serve as a bit of a catch-all for pieces that don’t fall neatly into other rooms (like this one).
Success Stories are exactly that, and when it comes to ocean conservation, there are more of them than one might think! Acknowledging what we have accomplished is crucial if we are to foster energy and enthusiasm for the work that still must be done.
Events is where I will announce any upcoming days of action, conferences, public appearances, book readings, or other relevant dates.
Pre-Med is a room dedicated to the conservation champions of tomorrow. We are in a position where the fate of our planet will impact future generations more than we can possibly understand: not only must we teach our children about conservation, we must also create space for them to teach us.
I should also mention that I do not intend to be the only one writing for CBO. There are hundreds of compelling, brilliant ocean conservationists around the world whose work puts mine to shame, and I fully intend to beg and harangue them until they join us here.
Thank you for joining me here at Code Blue Ocean. It is my hope that by sharing both information and inspiration, we can overcome the challenges facing our oceans together.