From its role as a mental safe haven to its astounding physical power, the ocean is a force of nature. The clue is in our name: everything our organisation does and stands for comes back to loving the oceans. With a focus on life and livelihoods for this year’s World Oceans Day theme on 8th June, we asked some of our lovely followers what the ocean means to them and why it has never been so important to protect it.
The ocean is a diverse and beautiful place upon which humanity relies for livelihood, recreation and wellbeing. After reaching out to our followers to find out what the ocean means to you, a pattern started to emerge: blue spaces provide a fundamental life support which give us an ability to escape from everyday life.
“Peace, a place where I can just be”
Championed by Wallace J. Nichols, ‘Blue Mind’ philosophy channels the idea that spending time on or near blue spaces is healing. People regularly rely on the ocean as a mental and physical escape, with links to holidays and past events forming a big part of what it means to find solace in the ocean.
“Holidays as a kid in Aldeburgh!”
“A sense of freedom”
“Life, freedom, peace”
When we imagine a beautiful ocean, we think of idyllic scenes of white sandy beaches, seas bursting with life and clear aquamarine waters. But even the most pristine places are overwhelmingly contaminated with evidence of human activity. The most up to date estimates suggest that around 10 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year, but this doesn’t stop us from making an intrinsic link between blue spaces and serenity.
If we want to hold on to the beauty with which we so readily associate the ocean, we need to realise that our blue spaces need protecting. Recently established as a Hope Spot by Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative (which we’re super excited about!), here at LTO we are taking steps to preserve Jangamo Bay for generations to come. By continuing to lobby for a Marine Protected Area (MPA) here in Mozambique’s Inhambane Province, our ultimate goal is to make a place where marine life can flourish.
“An essential part of the ecosystem that we cannot afford to lose”
In the words of our Founder, Francesca Trotman, “The ocean provides us with half the oxygen we breathe, so caring about the oceans is quite literally a life and death situation.” Summed up by our followers, the oceans are the lungs, air and life of the planet. Providing food, medicines and a source of income for billions of us around the globe, our existence would not be possible without the sea.
“My life. If our oceans die, I will die!”
Despite an awareness of its significance, very often, the value we place on the oceans is not consistent with our behaviour when it comes to conserving and restoring it. While using less plastic and reassessing our relationship with seafood are important things to consider, the most powerful change happens when we nurture our love of blue spaces.
“Life without stress. True beauty. A way to save our planet.”
It’s easy to feel totally overwhelmed and disheartened when we think about the metaphorical mountain that humans must move to restore our oceans to their former abundance.
But in the words of one of our great ocean pioneers – Jacques Cousteau – people protect what they love.
Only by finding this love is there any chance that the rest will follow, so if you don’t know where to begin, start by channelling your passion. Whether that’s through sharing petitions, supporting conservation initiatives or spending time clearing up your local beach, it’s time to show the world that you love the oceans.
“The ocean means an unlimited amount of possibilities, with so much more going on than we can see with the naked eye. It also brings peace and stability; whatever’s going on in your life, the sea will still be there and as beautiful as ever.”
While the ocean will always be there, humanity has never in history had a greater influence on the fate of our blue spaces than we do now. Left unchecked, the beauty of the ocean as we know it will slip away with devastating consequences.
But there is hope.
There’s a ton of ways you can get involved with our mission to conserve and restore our oceans – donate, adopt one of our whale sharks or explore our marine expeditions here. As a tiny organisation, every little bit of support goes a long way. Each individual may only be a single drop in the ocean, but together we can join forces and make real waves of change.
What does the ocean mean to you? Let us know in the comments on Instagram!
Happy World Oceans Day!
Written by Lily Holbrook