Imagine being able to see into the deepest depths of the ocean. Imagine the water being clear as glass, revealing not only the hidden trenches, valleys and mounts, but also the mysterious creatures that inhabit the deep, unseen to man. If we knew these mysteries, these ancient creatures that dwell in our oceans, would we care more? Would we rush to their aid when their homes are threatened by oil rigs and spills, pollution and overfishing, trawling and exploitation? Would we offer help to them as if they were our neighbors? Would we care if we could see the amount of pain they’re in?
The ocean is a secret. Humans in their ignorance overlook the ocean in fear; fear of what lies beneath, fear of the unknown. We know more about the moon then we do about the loosely bound oxygen and hydrogen molecules that dance around 70% of the Earths surface. As the molecules bind and unbind, evaporate and rain, creating an intricate dance that only the earth understands, we stand blind to the most incredible and precious resource on our Earth, water.
As a child, I ran blindly into the arms of waves. I laughed as it picked me up, as it rocked me in its big blue arms, or spat me out in the frothy surf, tumbling me over and over while I tried to pick up my dignity and adjust my bikini before I raised my head into the clear atmosphere to be greeted by laughter or concerned words from my family and friends. The ocean terrified me. It enthralled me. It captured my heart from a young age and it’s kept a tight grip on me ever since. I was lucky enough to grow up near a river. I still squeal and jump and play in the murky brown water at 22. Curiosity fuels my need to be surrounded by the waves. It is the inability to see clearly, the inability to know what is going to come out of the ocean next that fuels me on.
Sometimes I am scared of what might be lurking in those depths. But most of the time I am just hopeful. Hopeful that some creature will grace me with it’s presence, or share a moment with me. In Thailand, giant mantas granted me a few minutes, swimming out of that mysterious blue towards me with their prehistoric wings and their small intelligent eyes watching me with a shared amount of fascination. Is it human of me to think that a creature feels fascination and curiosity just as I do? Is it bigoted of me to attribute human features to something far from human to try and understand it? I don’t know. I cannot say that another creatures behavior is similar to my own, but I can say, that these mighty creatures that lurk in the depths of the deep blue do feel something. Something that allows them to spend half an hour being surrounded by us gawking humans and not disappear back into the mystery that is their home.
Are we destroying the most precious thing on our planet because we do not understand it? Are we turning a blind eye due to the immense challenge of saving them? How do we save something we cannot see, much less understand?
As human beings, we don’t even bother to care.
We run and hide behind our TV screens and we turn off the news when we feel uncomfortable to replace the reality of what our Earth is facing with fictitious movies and games. We fill our minds with the problems of other humans who haunt the screens of our beloved TV, mobiles and computers. We are born into a materialistic world.
In 1997, a 70 ton finback whale washed up with 40 pounds of plastic inside it. That was nearly 20 years ago. Because this is a normal thing now, it is even easier to close our eyes to the damage that we have inflicted. Imagine starving to death on a full stomach of plastic. We have made this a reality for whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, sea birds and many other organisms.
We have a backyard full of mystery. We have an ocean full of secrets. We have strange luminescent gelatinous organisms pulsing and throbbing and glowing throughout the seas. We have creatures bigger then we can ever imagine swimming and playing in waters unseen to man. We have wonders and marvels that we do not deserve. We are responsible for the damage inflicted and we are the only ones who can fix it.