On the cognitive level, I have seen the pictures from space and agreed that there was a lot of blue on the earth. On different international flights, I saw the plane icon on the screen travel over big expanses of blue. As a kid, I spent time along the New Jersey shoreline, the water was never a deep blue. The water was tinted brown, probably as a function of pollution. It is sad to think barrages of trash and industrial pollution have changed the color of the shoreline sea water. Even in Longboat Key where the water is often that beautiful shade of Caribbean blue, there are days that it has a green-brown tint to it. It could also be that the many miles I have traveled in a car, seeing green and browns of forests, farm land and prairies, would cause me to question the characterization of earth as the blue planet.
Sailing for three weeks and seeing thousands of miles of blue seas, the idea of the blue planet is not an abstract concept. It is real. When I look around all I see is clean, blue water. (We are still about 200 nm from Horta in the Azores.) At various points I would see the water depth as 16,404 ft. That means there is three miles of water between the bottom and me. That thought makes me want to go for a swim, but man over board is a serious situation. I am reminded of swim lessons as a kid, once you can swim it doesn’t matter how deep the water is. No way to touch bottom.
Back to the point, blue planet… Mile after mile, the water color has not changed. It remains a deep, rich blue. On a very emotional level, I now buy into the idea that we live on a blue planet. I hope future generations will be able to experience the incredible blue water of the ocean. I fear that their experience will be different. Forty-five years ago, I snorkeled along the Plankar reef near Cozumel reef near Cozumel, Mexico. The reef was alive with schools of various fish, and brilliantly colored corals. Three years ago, in the British Virgin Islands, it was clear that the corals were dying and the diversity of fishes was less. Hopefully, society will learn the lesson that our reefs are the canaries in the coal mine.
If we continue to operate with a “me first” mindset, collectively we all will lose. Hopefully, we will move beyond a “nation first” mentality to one where we cooperate on global issues.