Just a wee rant for a Monday, a nutshell version to suggest that if only a fraction of space money was used to clean up the oceans (forget even the lakes and rivers, just the oceans for now) wouldn’t that be a Grand Thing?
But it’s not likely to happen, is it.
I’m guessing space people and ocean people don’t share money, much less philosophies.
I do wonder though: WHY DOES THE SPACE PROGRAM HAVE SO MUCH MORE MONEY THAN THE OCEAN PROGRAM?
And is there even an Ocean Program????
I’m also guessing the answer is that space is sexier than oceans (to some). More fun to play with spacey toys and go where “no man has gone before”…
(ah, therein lies a clue)
And all that space junk hardware, rockets and lasers and wotnots, oh my!
So much more fun (for some) than keeping dolphins and whales happy.
But why aren’t we angrier about this?
I think it’s because everybody, no matter where they are, can SEE space, so maybe that makes the buy-in easier, the universal “sure, endlessly exploring space makes sense” attitude instead of the ocean’s hard sell (because so many people have never even been to an ocean and probably never will). This is what the ocean is up against. It’s simply a LOT more fun to see pictures of Mars, a place you can actually look at from your chaise lounge on a summer night while having drunken chats with friends about the possibility of living there one day, so much merrier than to look at pictures of seas teeming with pollution WE’VE put there through our stupidity and short-sightedness.
Responsibility is such a downer.
And then there’s the not drunken imaginings part where, in reality, and in the not so distant future, very very very wealthy rich folk will be able to take a ride into space themselves. (Of course the drunken conversations then become about those rich bastards… and lottery ticket sales go up.)
Someone will say that selling space ride tickets to rich people is a money-maker. But does the space program REALLY need your sheckles??? Or, more valuable than that, do they just want to keep you oblivious to the giant waste of money that this kind of farting around actually is…
I don’t mean to suggest putting a stop to the WHOLE space thing, by the way, just the farting around part. If they could ditch that much and use the savings on ocean clean-up, that would be swell.
Public aquariums are beginning to get on board insofar as offering a nod to how deplorable the seas have become with pollution. But they could do so much more. It would be good if pollution was their entire focus at this point. Forget the selfies with rainbow fish. Forget the happy tra la, tra la, of an outing to pretend all is well. Instead, have every aquarium dedicate a proportional amount of space within its walls/tanks equal to how much of the oceans, lakes and waterways are polluted. If the oceans are 70% polluted then 70% of the aquarium’s tanks should be filled with floating garbage. Forget the happy fish and clean water displays. They belong in the history museum.
The oceans need us. And vice versa. It’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship and I cannot believe a space ride beats that in anyone’s mind at this point.
(What can we do besides rant? We can write governments. We can write aquariums too for that matter — not insignificant. And we can stop buying single use plastics… opinions backed by spending habits are powerful.)
Also, we can stop thinking that if all else fails we can move to Mars.
Photos courtesy of the following articles:
A Sea of Debris: Oceans Governance and the Challenge of Plastic Pollution
Our Plastic Ocean