Beneath the Surface; The Wave of Change (438)


It’s an odd thing the ocean. It’s just there. Like most things we don’t really think about it unless we’re prompted. It’s an enigmatic entity that often lurks on the fringes of our consciousness. And occasionally it surfaces in the stirring narratives of television that’s thrilling to watch and captivates the imagination. If we’re lucky enough we may live near the sea, or we may visit and spend time on the beach, and swim.

But, and it’s a big but… do we think enough about the ocean and the allure of its cerulean expanse? How often do we truly delve into its depths, beyond the mesmerising facade that graces its surface? Aside from its surface beauty, the gorgeous colours of the water, the crashing waves, the white sands that frame it, what’s going on beneath the glistening allure of its waters? There lies a world of wonders, a technicolour spectacle where corals bloom in vibrant splendour that reveal a translucent abyss bustling with a community of marine life, where smiling fish, resplendent shellfish, and their adaptable invertebrate relatives coexist, weaving tales of collective survival and adaptation.

We love their home. We marvel at how they live in close knit communities; work together, learn together, travel together and hunt together. Amidst the flourishing coral reefs, a utopian realm of the enchanted sea garden unfurls, providing refuge and sustenance, playgrounds, resting places and burial grounds. Yet, this idyllic vision remains a far cry from the harsh reality. Grim images emerge, depicting sea creatures ensnared in abandoned fishing nets, plastic bottles coiled around delicate necks, and the ocean desecrated by an onslaught of sewage and the callous discarding of cruise ship waste and fuel.

Despite our fervent fascination with the ocean, evidenced by leisurely swims, daring dives, and luxury yacht escapades, a sobering truth lingers. For those with cash to splash, sailing on palatial yachts and jet-setting in their private jets, seldom prioritise the conservation of the very environment that allures them. On the other hand we have those passionate individuals endeavouring to salvage the sanctity of the coastline and its marine inhabitants. Frustratingly the wave of change remains agonisingly slow, seemingly impervious to the countless documentaries, advertising campaigns and protest marches that beckon attention to the awe-inspiring wonders of the natural world. Perhaps the most pressing question remains: what does it take to change our behaviour? How do we shift the trajectory?

The evidence is obviously stark—no matter how many television programmes are made that unveil the earth’s marvels, whether on land or in the depths of the sea, the journey toward substantive change meanders at an excruciatingly slow pace.

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