Years ago when the Googleplex proudly debuted Google Earth, renown American oceanographer Sylvia Earle told Google execs that they had a great product but that it wasn’t really Google Earth, but “Google Dirt” because there was no mapping of ¾ of the planet – that is, the oceans. Red-faced, probably, they set to work with Dr. Earle and completed mapping of the oceans too. Dr. Earle was right on point when she said, “Without blue, there is no green.” Our planet is regulated by the oceans. Our people are fed by the oceans. Even deep inland the effect is profound.
The production of energy from fossil fuels affects the oceans and the land. We know how oil spills from drilling and cargo tanker accidents affects nature, but there is a big negative effect from air pollution as well. Too much carbon dioxide and shrinking amounts of ozone high in the atmosphere kill phytoplankton – the basis of life in the ocean. When we think of renewable energy we need to expand our thoughts to the ocean, the Earth’s mother, who feeds us and brings us weather regulating the pulse of the Earth and humankind.
For the next two weeks my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland, will be awash in boats – even more than usual. Two of the nation’s biggest boat shows, one each for sail and power, brings many visitors and locals into our charming downtown to see the latest and greatest in vessels and accessories. The enthusiasm for boating and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay, which is evident in Annapolis all-year long anyway, is magnified. There is a movement toward Green Boating, using eco-friendly products and being very careful to put no trash in the waters. There also are entrepreneurs who are taking it a step further. Last year a hybrid solar powerboat was introduced – the Greenline. It has solar panels on the top and on the deck and can go all day at a reasonable speed powered by the sun. If needed, an auxiliary diesel engine can kick in, but is usually not needed.
The point of this is that we need to think of new ways of living, working and playing if we are to have a habitable planet in the future. Whether our passions are mountain biking or sailing, we need make every decision as if our lives depend on it… because they do.