Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lessons from the Ocean

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day. It read
"Everything I needed to learn I learned from the Ocean".
I love that it got me thinking and pushed me to try to
better understand what lessons I'd learned and if they
were actually sufficient. Here are just a few that I've come
with. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you've learned.

1) Be curious, look around, and take it all in. The ocean holds
so much if we just look. It can tell you the wind direction, the
swell direction, the tide. It can show you where it is safe to be
and where danger lurks. You can see fish, birds, and amazing
colors and hews.

2) Things change constantly. The ocean is never the same and
it can change in an instant. I'm sure you can attest to that. How
often have you missed a great surf session because the wind switched
or the tide changed. How many time have you seen tranquility turn
into stormy chaos?

3) We are pretty insignificant in the big picture. The vastness of
the ocean can humble even the biggest ego-maniacal narcissist. Oft
times even the problems we feel are great aren't really very large
in the big picture.

4) You can't control the ocean all you can control is you in the ocean
if you learn how and try hard. You have to learn to go with the flow,
let the current take you and not waste energy fighting against the
things you can't win against. Learning to relax and go with it is a key
life lesson.

5) You have to respect the ocean you can't dump on it or in it without
some adverse consequences. The Gulf oil catastrophe is teaching that
to us as I write as are the 5 gyres. What we do is having an impact now.

6) The ocean can be a source of the greatest pleasure and the can also
be a source of pain and sorrow.

I'm sure that I've only scratched the surface, no pun intended. What
lessons has our mother ocean taught you?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beyond the tipping point

Phillipe Cousteau did a dive into the Gulf of Mexico last week.
Perhaps you have seen it, if not it's on You Tube. So sad to watch
him don a hazmat suit to dive into the oily disaster. So sad to
see what he saw and hear his words. I heard him interviewed
since his dive and he was asked if it was already too late for
our beloved mother ocean. HIs answer was troubling. A man
can survive without an arm, without a leg, with his eye gouged out
but the man will never be the same Cousteau replied. When will
people realize that the ocean will never be the same, never be
healthy he asked?

I too am surprised as to just how many people are not connecting
the dots on the devastation we humans have wrought on the
ocean. The big fish are virtually gone, yet we continue to seek
them out. The list of fish on the unsustainable list grows, yet go
into almost any eatery and look at the seafood portion of the menu.
Gyres filled with plastics ( an oil based product) are in all the worlds
oceans. The stomachs of fish and birds found in even the most remote
places on earth are filled with plastic. Walk any beach on any continent
and you'll see it littered with plastic. Go to virtually every beach snack
bar and ask to buy some kind of drink what you'll get in all likelihood
is a plastic bottle.

The ocean and our unwillingness to look at our behavior is a metaphor
for how many people live their lives. Sure you can survive eating
the wrong food, not exercising, being a workaholic, using your hard
earned dollars to consume for the sake of consuming. You, like the
ocean or the man with one arm, one leg, and one eye can survive. Do
you really want to? Have you, have we gone beyond the tipping point?