Every other breath we take comes from the ocean. As the challenges to our oceans grow—and with that, the need for solutions—the clearer it becomes that the health of our seas is tied to our own.
This World Oceans Day—its United Nations theme of which is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”—calls for the introduction of new methods, ideas, or products to pave new paths forward. And next year, in 2021, the UN begins its Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development—an initiative to strengthen the international cooperation needed to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with societal needs.
To illustrate that intimate relationship, we collaborated with Youth Poet Laureate and activist Amanda Gorman, ocean idea incubator Lonely Whale, and environmental awareness platform Future Earth. “Ode To Our Ocean” narrates our connection to the water that covers 70 percent of our earth.
Read the full poem below and check out the 30×30 Initiative by Ocean Unite, which calls to safeguard at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030 through a network of highly protected marine areas that prohibit destructive or extractive activities like fishing and mining.
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The ocean is rising and so are we! A poem by @amandascgorman in collaboration with @atmos, @futureearth, and @lonelywhale for #worldoceansday. 🌊 Video edited by @ecblackman. Footage courtesy of: @toritsui_ @brd_media @candace.crespi @danniwashington @georgemckenziejr @chrisleidyphotography. 🐋
Follow Amanda on Instagram! @amandascgorman
“Ode To Our Ocean”
The sea sings out to its many saviors:
Teenagers with fists thrust into the air at climate strikes,
Scientists converging around their data,
A child who stoops to scoop up a piece of trash.
The sea sings out for its singular subjects:
Arching whales that wave from their waves,
Turtles that teeter down their shining shores,
Coral reefs shining brightly as cities.
The sea sings out its suffering,
Knowing too much of waste, screeching sounds
And pernicious poison, its depths bruised by
Atrocities in the Atlantic,
Misery in the Mediterranean,
Its tides the preservers of time past.
The story of the ocean and the story of humanity
Are one and the same, a Great River that
Knows no borders and notes no lines,
While we might call it the Seven Seas,
Today we sing out your true name:
The one ocean.
For no matter how we try to separate your waters,
You are the colossus that connects us.
Water makes up 70% of Earth,
70% of the human heart,
And 70% of the human being,
All of us, bodies of water,
For we, too are oceans,
Or at least beings bobbing in the same boat.
To stand up for for our ocean
Is to stand up for our own ship
The sea is a restless, strong collective of many pieces.
So are we.
The ocean can recover.
And so will we.
Let us not divide the tides,
But discover all they have to teach us–
Green meadows of sea grass that survive pathogens,
Blue-bloodied marine snails that can fight off viruses.
There are more lessons to learn,
Still more work to be done.
So we lift our faces to the sun.
May the seas help us see healing and hope,
May we sing out the ocean’s survival and revival.
Being the people of this blue planet is our most
Profound privilege and power,
For if we be the ocean’s saviors,
Then it is surely ours.