The oceans are my first love. I work for a marine conservation organization, SCUBA dive, and try to spend as much time near water as possible. I was lucky, though, because I was born and raised in a city near the ocean. Growing up, my family would spend weeks at my grandparent’s house on Whidbey Island. I would spend all day walking up and down the beach, gathering sea glass and watching the boats glide in across the water, hoping for an adventurous fish to leap into the air. I knew at a young age that I wanted to do everything possible to save the oceans from destruction.
But what about people who, through sheer luck of birth, grew up in a place far from the sea? There are 27 landlocked states in the US and many of the ones with coastlines are so large that getting to the ocean is not an easy trip. The same question holds true for countries around the world. For those who did not grow up with ocean memories, how did you come to care about the ocean?
Was it a picture of a coral reef community, teeming with colorful fish and eels? A vacation to a tropical locale? Or a visit to an aquarium?
What would make someone care about the ocean if they haven’t spent time experiencing its wonders?
This is an important question as organizations like ours move to bring ocean issues to the forefront of policymakers’ and the public’s minds, both in the US and internationally.
What do you guys think?