Lately, I have been pondering a lot about the vast outer space, and the depths of the ocean; whether through an eloquent talk by Physicist, Bryan Cox, or an interview of Oceanographer, Silvia Earle. I had began drafting a story on this very topic, and one night; as I resolved to continue the task, a movie began playing on the nearby screen which I found quite fitting.
It was Chasing Mavericks; which I had watched a couple of years ago. The beautiful message and photography captured my heart anew, and I was left thoroughly inspired. As the movie finished, I refocused on the task of writing; only to realize, that the next movie to play would be; Alfonso Cuaron's, Gravity.
There is no coincidence in this beautiful sequence. Both of these touch on the value of life and our vulnerability within two environments; where oxygen is scarce, and survival becomes an act of the will. Both teach us that fear is to be conquered as we forge ahead. The deep ocean and the vast outer space...
Our place within this vastness
As Sylvia Earle (Oceanographer, Aquanaut, and Conservationist) describes; since the middle of the 20th century, we have learned more about the ocean, our place in the universe, and other people. Only about 5% of the ocean has been seen; let alone explored. We don't really understand how it works; yet, we must allow each new discovery to bring us closer to our identity as humanity, and grow in our desire to do what is right and just.
At the same time outer space was being discovered, Sylvia was exploring the depths of the ocean, and I cannot help but marvel at the fact that both of these hold a mysterious character; yet, every time we reach out farther into its vastness, we find out more about ourselves. This in turn increases our appreciation for life, as we remember our own dignity and the value of our own planet.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPLORATION
Exploration and research hold an important and beautiful place within our economy. Silvia Earle shares, that the ocean drives the way the world works. It drives climate, oxygen replenishment, and food change. The ocean is critical to our lives, health and economy.
Bryan Cox in turn, says exploration provides inspiration for engineering achievement, and driving innovation (quantum physics/mechanics). It also provides great perspective on our own identity. Just think of how beautiful it was to witness earth from outer space for the first time.
Two recent visits helped my own pondering in simple, but deeply human ways. The first one; at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, as I listened to a recording from an astronaut that witnessed the event from a space station. He added that despite it all, NYC still looked beautiful, that the entire earth still held much beauty. His words allowed me much perspective.
The second; when I found myself mesmerized by beautiful species, as I paid a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I never cease to be amazed at the perfection of all creation, and as I captured an image of medusozoa; gliding about the water, I was filled with wonder and a sense of exploration.
Apart from its beauty and inspiration, the sea plays a critical life-sustaining role. The more we realize this, the better our chances in building a beautiful future.
I invite you to ponder further on this topic and to explore the great beauty that surrounds us.
We will continue the conversation throughout the entire month of September. Join us via email, and social media, as we share about the ocean through writings, music, and art.