Meet Erika Woolsey, a coral scientist, National Geographic explorer, dive instructor and someone who simply loves the ocean. “To be near the ocean or under the waves is my happy place,” she tells us.
But Erika is concerned that too few people feel empathy or connection with the ocean, and that’s something she wants to change on a big scale.
“The ocean is important to me for the same reason it’s probably important to everyone else – the ocean keeps us alive.”
Erika fears that if we don’t understand our ocean and its environments, we will lose touch with how important it is. A habitat lost by this generation, will seem normal to the next. This will create continuous decline, and our children’s children won’t recognise the world as we know it now.
“If we don’t engage with the ocean environment, understand it and learn about it, we’ll forget it ever existed as it did,” Erika explains.
60% of the world’s marine ecosystem are degraded or being used unsustainably, according to UNEP.
Engaging with the ocean and understanding it better, is something we can all do today.
Erika is using her skills as a scientist to help teach all of us more about the ocean. But this is no ordinary classroom. Erika wants to help people understand what it feels like under the waves.
Erika and her team at the Hydrous have developed amazing tools to help us all see life below the surface, without getting wet. These include a ‘virtual dive’ (link) and an immersive film (link), that invites viewers to go into the Ocean’s depths.
We are not all lucky enough to live close to the sea, but Erika is helping all of us experience its wonders.
More than 1million people worldwide have now been on Erika’s virtual dives, using their own smartphone or computer.
Having a better relationship with the ocean helps us to understand it better, and you don’t have to be a scientist to be interested in the ocean.
Erika believes that we can all relate to the ocean, because it is our life-support system. Life above the water is unsustainable without a healthy ocean.
Go on a virtual dive and discover something about the ocean today. “Find your own relationship with the ocean, something you enjoy, and tell your own ocean story,” Erika tells us.
Download the GenO ezine for more information and resources.