An Innate Connection

An Innate Connection

Do we cherish the ocean enough to safeguard it for future generations? Do we believe in leaving behind a better world?

When was this image taken?

Take a close look at this image. When was it taken? Last year, actually, but it could have been 60 years ago. It shows the beach where I spent most of my childhood summers, since I was a toddler, and where I have spent most of my summer holidays ever since. In the photo, it is as if time has stood still. Those kids playing on the sandbar could have been my brother and me as children.

So little has changed. This place has always been my sanctuary, and it remains so, over half a century later. I still feel a deep connection to the ocean here, where I can sit and daydream, disconnected from the chaos of everyday life. I still explore the shallow lagoons that have formed inside the protective sandbars, searching for small creatures like shrimp, crabs and fish. You never know what you might find. Beachcombing never gets old, nor does taking a refreshing plunge head-first into the incoming surf.

Back then, my grandparents watched out for me and ensured I was safe and did not get sunburned. Now, I am a grandparent myself, which instils a wonderful sense of continuity.

Of course, I am also all the wiser now. I have since gained a graduate degree in biology, a thick deck of dive certifications, and I have been fortunate to explore breath-taking underwater worlds across the globe.

Yet, this beach is where my passion for the ocean began. I vividly remember wondering about the mysteries hidden beneath the waves. Now, I have had the privilege of uncovering some of those secrets.
Perhaps some of the children playing on the beach today will also grow up to be drawn to the ocean, becoming biologists or passionate divers. I hope they do.

However, I cannot help but worry about the world we are leaving to future generations. Climate change and coral reef bleaching events cast an ominous shadow over the future of our oceans.

It saddens me that my generation has been criminally poor at heeding the many warnings and taking the necessary action. For decades the signs have been clear, yet we have failed to act decisively. Now, our children and grandchildren are bearing the consequences. Can we repair the damage? It is uncertain. While some ecosystems can recover with proper management, others may be lost forever.  

Despite these challenges, there is hope. Marine-protected areas have shown that ecosystems can rebound if given the chance.

We have the power to protect the ocean, but it will take dedication and sacrifice. The question is: Do we cherish the ocean enough to safeguard it for future generations? Do we believe in leaving behind a better world?

— Peter Symes
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief