Over the 4th of July weekend, I made the drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara along a route that offers beautiful views of beaches packed with people seeking relief from the heat wave. Upon arriving, I Googled the ocean news updates, only to find that there were basically none that were current (in fact, the first one listed was from 2007).
For me, it was another sharp reminder of the need to build awareness of just how critical the health of our oceans is. It’s not enough for people to ‘see the sea’ simply as a vacation and holiday destination or as providing a hot-weather haven, or even as a source of their favorite seafood. They also have to be made conscious of the critical role the marine ecosystem plays in our everyday ability to breathe.
The most effective way to fast-track such “ocean appreciation” information might be via a hardlinking campaign along the lines of the Quick Response codes featured on trash cans at the beach. Such codes would enable anyone equipped with a mobile phone to instantly obtain up-to-date marine reports from various authoritative sources, including Ocean Aid, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, and the 5 Gyres Project. We might also offer rewards for playing Oceanopolis, the “Facebook game with a mission” from Greenopolis and Waste Management. But we need to be creative in finding ways to get people’s attention and get them actively involved in the effort to preserve the oceans – to think (as they say in consultant speak) “blue ocean space.”