Hello In My Visions,
Every now and then, I feel inspired to bang out an entry like this one today. How random, right? Yes, it's been awhile since I last posted anything, but I've had a lot of time to reflect on what's important in my life these last couple of weeks-- one of which is obviously the upkeep of this site. I told myself that I will not neglect this passion project as I have this last year, just like how I should not neglect aspects of my life that keep it healthy and well-balanced! Not only has posting on this website been an escape for me in the past, but it has always been my journal of thoughts, interests and photography growth. Aside from my joy in snapping photos, I also like to geek out on climate change. Keeping Up with the Klimate is pretty hard at times, but I like to watch the latest documentaries that explain continuing problems and slap my face with a reminder that I need to be greener and better to mother earth.
I wish I was paid to write all of this up, but this isn't an Ad! I watched Chasing Coral on Netflix, which came out earlier this month, and was reminded again of how important our ocean health is to us. But, before I dive deeper into that discussion (pun intended), I still remember the last Netflix documentary I watched about ocean life back in 2014 called Mission Blue. The film follows badass oceanographer, conservationist, marine biologist, Sylvia Earle (& she's a grandma), who at age 81, still dives into our water and swims the depths of our sea to study and protect "Hope Spots." What are these Hope Spots? Find out here. She drew attention to our dying coral reefs, and showed us critical areas in this world that we need to protect because they are crucial to the health of our ocean. Global warming is real and our planet is suffering. There is irreversible damage, and about half of our coral reefs have died the last 30 years alone.
We can look back at that, gasp and sob, but we also need to look at the big picture of global warming. I have dreams to see the Great Barrier Reef, but I'm also aware that at the rate humankind is going, if I don't go soon or in this lifetime, there will be no Great Barrier Reef to visit ever again. I can't change the world in a drastic way alone, but I know I can control my carbon footprint, and try to be a little greener everyday. Sylvia inspires me all the time and in another life, I will learn to scuba dive at an earlier age, become a mermaid and fight to protect our ocean health.
Now, back to Chasing Coral.
Chasing Coral focuses on the diminishing coral health and follows some very passionate people trying to find out what's causing our reefs to disappear. Richard Vevers quit his 10 years working in advertisement because he wanted to do something with more meaning in his life after he realized his favorite weedy seadragon is endangered and wanted to find out what more in our ocean life is disappearing and thus the birth of this film with producer/director Jeff Orlowski. Zackery Rago grew his own coral aquarium and learned all about coral taxonomy, joining the team to create extraordinary underwater camera devices that can shoot time-lapse video of the reefs, and ultimately dived into the ocean to manually track daily coral activity in the Great Barrier Reef for several months. This is all to say that these people really put a lot into this documentary, and I have so much RESPECT!
Of course there are more people involved, and everyone played an important role, but you just have to watch the documentary yourself! I learned that a particular marine species known as the parrotfish eats corals and poops out sand. Therefore the sand we walk on at beaches are fecal matter produced by the parrotfish, but all fun jokes aside, I also gained more knowledge about coral bleaching (see image below), which is the first sign of a dying coral community. The documentary was quality storytelling and the before and afters of healthy, colorful coral communities turning white only months apart were visually alerting. There are scientists, divers, coral lovers out there trying to save ocean life, and I am just at home watching those people actually making a difference in the world.
So in summary, whether I am watching Mission Blue in 2014 or Chasing Coral in 2017, there is no doubt that our ocean continues to get warmer. 2016 was ranked the warmest year in the Global Climate Report. So, this is me telling myself to remember to be greener. Remember to fight for a cleaner environment, healthier ocean, better world because I'd like to see change in this lifetime.
Sometimes it's not just rising temperatures destroying coral life, but also us obnoxious human beings who snorkel during our vacation and damage the reefs with our sunblock. Chasing Coral taught me that when swimming in the ocean, do not use sunscreen with active ingredient: OXYBENZONE, a chemical that damages coral reefs. So be aware! Be human and kind to our ocean life when visiting/snorkeling/swimming/minding our own business around these beauties. I've been using Neutrogena for years and just noticed that it contains 6% Oxybenzone. I'm tossing that out and switching to one of these Oxybenzone-free sunblocks.
Visiting the Great Barrier Reefs remains on my bucketlist, and I know that I have to go soon because it's changing with each passing day. First, I really need to learn how to scuba dive if I plan to visit seriously. I'm decades behind Sylvia, and if she can still do it in her 80s, I sure as heck can pick this up before I reach my 30s.
Goals (Some Before I Turn 30, But Really Should Just Maintain In Lifetime):
- Learn to scuba dive and operate heavy machinery underwater without harming coral reefs
- See the Great Barrier Reef
- Use Oxybenzone-free sunscreen
- Continue to scuba dive at age 80 like Sylvia Earle
- Be Greener Always
- Walk on parrotfish poop as often as possible