The Intersection

Life Aquatic

Craig McClain–scibling, intrepid deep sea explorer, and all around cool guy over at Deep Sea News has provided a great reminder of how vast oceans are…

Randomly place a point on our planet and it would be deep sea. In our daily activities so far removed from this environment, we begin to think all the earth is like our tiny, little corner. We begin to think this is all there is.


By volume, land makes up only 0.5% of the earth and the shallow seas 21%. The deep is 78.5%. That thin, little red strip at 0.5% represents the part we’ve explored. Every day will yield something new as we continue to explore this remote vastness.

(Gosh I love being a marine scientist!)

But aside from recognizing that planet ocean would be a more appropriate term than planet earth, Craig reminds us of something even more important… We humans are negatively impacting the last pristine part of planet–the deep sea–by overfishing, mining, climate change, pollutants, runoff, and beyond. And that’s not something to shrug off by way of Vonnegutian ‘so it goes‘ because we damn well can curb our behavior and do something! I certainly don’t plan to sit idly by as we destroy a place we have yet to begin to understand.

The good news is I’m not alone.

Craig is inviting all of us to participate in the The Just One Thing Challenge.

In 2008, every week or so I will ask you to do just one thing (The Just One Thing Challenge). It will be a small request but our combined efforts will be large. Just last year by teaming up, we funded several classrooms to help educate youth about our oceans. Hopefully over time, we will add to our ranks and our impact will grow.

So to Doc McClain… let’s see what you’ve got. I’m reading, and my hope is that many of us are. You see folks, the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land that makes up this little blue and green place are all we have. Sure we’re making a mess of things lately–deforesting trees, emitting CO2, losing biodiversity, altering the environment, and erecting statues of The Fonz, but together and united, we have the power to set things right.

I invite readers to submit ideas for just one thing we can do to make a difference in comments and I have a few suggestions to get started

One World


  1. #1 Philip H.
    January 28, 2008

    Miss Sheril,
    May I make a suggestion, just one thing . . . VOTE! I remain abysmally amazed at how few vote but expect governemnt to help them protect the environemnt, reign in corporations, or even collect the trash on time. All the rest of it- the limiting your carbon footprint, the not using paper or plastic bas at the store, the byuing hybrids to carry you to a prak and ride so you can take the Metro – is really a moot point without good, old fashioned political involvement.

  2. #2 Markus
    January 28, 2008

    By volume? Doesn’t land go deep though? I imagine that going down a mile everywhere could give us a lot of knowledge of geology, minerals, etc. If it’s about life, who knows what lives down in depths of earth.

    Still, good point about oceans’ vastness.

  3. #3 Phil
    January 28, 2008

    Say, you want remote vastness, you should try astronomy!

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