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Still photos by Anuradha Rao and Curtis Andrews

Transcription of video narration:

There was a time when I had never seen the ocean. Never felt its waves lapping against my feet, never heard its lifeblood rhythm beating against the shore.

Now, I cannot imagine living away from it.

My people are coastal people, from shores very far away. But today they do not engage with their coastline. I was born and raised away from the shores, away from the knowledge that surely must have existed among my ancestors. Perhaps they are transmitting it to me now, for the ocean is becoming my life and life's work.

Ocean waters to me represent possibility, imagination, exploration. Mysterious worlds unknown to most, unappreciated by many, understood by some. There is no greater joy than life at, on, in the ocean.

Can I take each person by the hand, give them a mask and snorkel and enable them to see what they miss? Can I teach them to see fish as friend, whale as queen, plankton as foundation, coral as civilization? Can I share with them the gift of respect for all living things?

I have been blessed to witness whales lunge-feeding among balls of small fish. I have tried to steer a giant leatherback turtle who humbled me with the strength of her one flipper lifting me clear off the ground. I have swum in the middle of a sphere of fish so in tune with each other that thousands move as a single unit. I have watched the ocean and mountains pass by for thirteen hours on the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, and every moment was riveting.

I have been horrified to see how people can impose upon our ocean brethren conditions of life to which they would not subject themselves. The smallest plastic waste can kill an ocean-going creature, and yet we allow enormous quantities of plastic to enter marine waters, creating a filth and hazard that we would never allow in our own homes.

The fragility of our ocean environments represents our own fragility. Humans' all-too-often failure to look deeper than the surface, look further back than the grocery store, and think further ahead than the next day represents their failure to look deeper within themselves, further back than their present generation and further forward to seven generations ahead. The deeper and farther we can look, the more we will realize how we are all connected.

I am blessed to live on a coast where, for every person who is disengaged from the health of our ocean, there is another who is deeply engaged. On our coast, people devote their lives to learning the language of orcas, revive ancient seafaring traditions despite generations of oppression, and develop channels of communication so that we may share our stories with each other.

Ocean's beauty astounds me, as does humans' beauty, when we come together for positive change. We have the opportunity now to set a global example by demonstrating how much we love our ocean and the creatures within it.

Message to Canadians: We still have so much to learn. Let's protect Ocean, our great teacher.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/oceans/projects/healthy-oceans/pacific-ocean-stories/post/
Author photo

By Anuradha Rao

Vancouver

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2 Comments

Nov 09, 2012
12:56 PM

Very nice video and narrative.

Nov 08, 2012
1:16 PM

Power and greed doesn't seem to care for the overall environment whether on ocean or on land. An example over fishing of cod off Newfoundland. From that experience you would think a different attitude would exist on the Pacific coast regarding wild salmon. It must be over a decade when it was brought to attention that salmon farms in their current farm systems are detrimental to the wild salmon. Yet the salmon farms are continually allowed by the people in power whilst the owners of salmon farms want to even add more fish farms.

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