Our world is tied to the fate of the oceans,
and the oceans are in crisis.
We knew this before we went cruising, but living on the water makes the evidence painfully obvious. It smacks us in the face, whether it massive helicopter-topped fishing factory boats in a harbor, the volume of visible garbage in the water, the absence of healthy fish on a coral reef, or absence of coral on a reef altogether.
Why should you care?
You should care because the ocean is integrally tied not just to a food supply, but to the health of our climate, to world economies, and more. And, we’re killing it. The overwhelming majority of pollution to the marine environment is from land, and it is a myriad of smaller sources- everything from vehicle wastes in runoff to septic tanks and to the degradation of land from “development” putting debris in water systems. It is the accumulation of many small choices and careless acts or blind eye turned… repeatedly, over time.
Lowering our impact on the earth is one reason we choose this cruising life. We also want our children to grow up in an environment where they will internalize an understanding for global effects of climate change, and the role we all need to play in making a change. When we do have a chance to experience a stunning underwater environment like the one in Raja Ampat, above, a part of me holds back the joy and wonders: will this be here for the next generation? We can’t click our heels together three times and return to pristine oceans, but with global effort at least see the way to a better future.
Think about where you fit in a few ways: what is taken from the ocean, and what’s put back into it. Learn about ocean acidification, and the connection with your carbon footprint. Understand the problem with massive over fishing, the complication of fish species labeling fraud, and consider what seafood you want to see on a plate. It’s many individual parts that make a market, and every choice matters. Don’t take my word for the incredible volume of garbage we see in these waters: read about ocean plastic the five gyres, watch or listen to Capt Charles Moore tell about the insidious nature of plastics in the water, and think about how you can get plastic out of your life.
National Geographic has a great list of ten ways you can help the ocean.
Ideals and actions come together in citizen scientist programs. Cruising offers unique opportunities to collect data and contribute to active research that supports our oceans, but anyone can do this. Anyone can share from their experiences to help inform and direct decisions to improve life on planet earth! The individual burden of effort is generally very small, but cumulative impact can be tremendous as more citizen scientists take the time to contribute, from our Salish Sea waterways back home to the oceans of the world.
We’re participating where we can, spreading the word. Do you have a program we can share or join? Please get in touch!