This I Believe

Emily - San Jose, California
Entered on January 1, 2008

I believe that there is a delicate balance between strong and weak, especially when discussing the power of the ocean. As a certified NAUI SCUBA diver, I have seen firsthand both the natural beauty of the ocean and the destruction that human influence can have. I have seen hundreds of species of fish and corals and other underwater creatures. I have spent time listening to the scratching of a claw on coral, the crunching of a parrotfish eating, the shifting of the sand in the water. I have begun to understand the cycle of life and death underwater, and I know that, undisturbed by human influence, this is a beautiful and productive. However, I have also spent time at school studying the effects that humans can have on wildlife. I know that most, if not all, ecosystems would be better off without humans interference, especially those underwater. I believe that because of some peoples’ arrogance and others’ lack of education, the underwater world is suffering. If we taught people around the world the negative effects of their actions on the water life, most would become more cautious when interacting with the sea. I believe that the ocean is something that humans should never try to influence or affect. It has been here for as long as we can imagine, always a constant that is changing. Because of this, the sea is much like fire: something that we can pretend to understand how to contain, but that we can never control. I believe that it is acceptable for humans to try to explore the ocean. It is a place I love to be; a place in which silence can be present but the smallest of sounds is amplified; a place in which everything around you moves but you can end up returning to the same spot. I would never want to prohibit people from seeing what is in the depths of the ocean, but I do believe in prohibiting and minimizing the effect that human interference has on the ocean. I have studied and seen with my own eyes the bleached coral, the dead fish, the changing temperatures of the water, and I know that if we as the human race do not step in and act now, there will be no sea for future generations to explore. I believe that education on the power of the ocean, the beauty of the ocean, and the negative effects of human influence should be available, even required, for everyone in the world. I know that it is impossible for this to happen immediately and start affecting the sea in the next month, year, even decade, but I believe that if we start education now, person by person we can change the world—and save the ocean.