I believe that the oceans are our past, present and future.
Past in the fact that all life began in the bodies of water now known as the oceans.
Present, because less than 1% of the oceans have been explored, and because the oceans directly control our climate and how we live.
Future, because it has been left up to us to either harm the ocean, or help it.
I choose the latter.
I like to be in and around the ocean as much as possible. It is as much a part of me as my hands or my feet. Everything I do is based upon my reliance of the ocean. Stress relief, a future career, and my sanity.
I worry about the future of Earth’s oceans, because I know that it is up to future generations to care for it and I have seen firsthand how our oceans are being treated.
As a whale watching tour guide for my local aquarium and a biological oceanography college student, I have seen a lot of disrespect for the ocean, and those that call the ocean home.
I have seen pollution and have heard complete disregard towards the ocean from our guests.
One day on a tour, I met a little boy named Corey, when his father, Chris, blatantly showed his lack of respect for the ocean.
On our boats, we have an indoor cabin where snacks can be purchased. Chris had bought Corey a pack of Skittles and when Corey was finished, he handed the empty wrapper to his dad.
“Here Dad, put this in your pocket,” the four year old said.
His dad, motioning to the ocean, responded harshly with, “Throw it out there, it’s like a big trash can anyway.”
Being the avid ocean lover that I am, on a boat with people I believed contained the same respect for the oceans as I do, I was shocked.
At first, I didn’t hear the entire conversation and thought Corey was the one who suggested the ocean be used as a trash receptacle. In response, I pulled Corey aside and explained to him that the ocean is not a place to discard trash and that it can be very dangerous to the animals in it. He interrupted me with an, “I know…I wanted him to put it in his pocket but he wouldn’t listen to me!”
I spoke with him for a few moments when he decided to tell his father the things we had talked about and how polluting the ocean is bad for everyone and everything – in the water and on land.
As we returned to the dock, both Chris and Corey approached me. Chris apologized for calling the ocean a “trash can” and promised me that it would never happen again. Corey then asked if we could take a picture together, because he said he felt that I loved the ocean as much as he did, and maybe just a little bit more.
There is hope for those that will be in future control of our oceans and he is a four year old named Corey.