The Worth of an Ocean

For what do we value our oceans? Translating meaning into action.

Norwegian Surfer Magnus Nordmo enveloped somewhere within.

In moments like this, I find myself dumbfounded that the irreplaceable joy & meaning we find in the ocean carries no measurable value in our society. I am even more dumbfounded that this is by choice.

When we are touched by nature in soul-touching, deeply humbling and moving ways, it translates to the society we’ve created as essentially worthless. Yes, we value our oceans for science, tourism, and cultural significance. But it is indisputably evident from the magnitude of total destruction we willingly embark upon, that these complex, beautiful seascapes are valued first and foremost for their strategic usefulness to wealth and power — extracting energy, drilling for oil, military testing, exploiting fish, resources, reefs, and wildlife.

But we don’t go seeking photos of the ocean in a sickly, dying state; we’re allured by visions like the one above, that contain unblemished beauty and joy. We’re magnetized by moving water and it’s complex diversity of life. Clearly, in our hearts, we value the ocean for more.

But the reality we idealize is different from the reality we’ve chosen to create. Given our current trajectory, places like the one captured above will cease to exist. We can either change the circumstances, or be forced to find joy in a different kind of photograph…

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