The story of the ocean and the story of humanity
Are one and the same, a Great River that
Knows no borders and notes no lines,
While we might call it the Seven Seas,
Today we sing out your true name:
The one ocean.
For no matter how we try to separate your waters,
You are the colossus that connects us.
writes US National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman in her poem, “Ode to Our Ocean.” For centuries, our connection with the seas has inspired poets, authors and artists. They’ve waxed eloquently about it and painted masterpieces of it. As famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle put it, “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.”
As divers and PADI Torchbearers, we feel this bond because our love and passion for the ocean spring from it. Some scientists say that our minds are even uniquely aligned with the sea. In his 2014 book, Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols lays out why diving, sailing, swimming and other hands-on interactions with water benefit us psychologically and physically. Immersion relieves gravity both physically and mentally. The ocean’s sounds drown out the background without distraction, calming us and freeing our thoughts. Especially when we’re diving, underwater is one of the few places we’re truly freed from the likes of mobile devices and unlimited connection. (Read the book, but this review and this give you the gist of it.) I think Nichols would agree with Danish Out of Africa author Karen Blixen’s (pseudonymn Isak Dinsen) words, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Indeed, our work and our emotions heal us – and so does our ocean connection.
Having and sharing our deep love of the ocean is vital, important and powerful in saving the seas. Why? For the same reason that no one steps in front of a bullet because it is logical. Working to protect and restore the ocean is logical because we need and want the food, oxygen, a stable climate and other resources the seas provide. But ultimately, that doesn’t drive us nearly as much as our passion and love for seas. “Ode to the Ocean” closes:
May the seas help us see healing and hope,
May we sing out the ocean’s survival and revival.
Being the people of this blue planet is our most
Profound privilege and power,
For if we be the ocean’s saviors,
Then it is surely ours.
It’s not simply that saving the oceans is the only rational option. PADI Torchbearers act decisively and forcefully on the ocean’s behalf because it’s wired into us.
Seek adventure. Save the ocean.
Conservation, President’s Desk, conservation, Drew Richardson, savetheoceanPADI Pros