All Hands on Deck: A (sea)grassroots approach to ocean exploration

Date: November 19, 2018

Source: National Geographic
Author: Jessica Perelman

“95% of our oceans have never been explored.” This is a statistic that I hear regularly, and it holds a pretty strong message. What’s out there beneath the surface? How is the ocean changing? One of the greatest challenges in conveying the significance of the oceans is effective communication that goes beyond highly technical, hard-to-understand scientific literature. Science and public engagement are not mutually exclusive, and the value of great discoveries can only be realized if this connection is sustained. As humans we are natural story tellers, artists, musicians, inventors, and explorers. This is the toolbox that will foster enthusiasm and educate the global community about why the oceans are worth exploring- and protecting.

This idea was the premise for the 2018 National Ocean Exploration Forum, All Hands on Deck. Spearheaded by Katy Croff Bell and Jenni Szlosek Chow of MIT Media Lab, and additionally sponsored by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration & Research, National Geographic Society, New England Aquarium, and several other organizations, the Forum brought together a diversity of people (scientists, artists, filmmakers, industry professionals, and ocean explorers) from across the globe to brainstorm and develop new ways to inspire and connect people with the oceans. Through storytelling, games, panel discussions, and interactive workshops, the Forum created a lively space for everyone to bring their unique expertise to the table and work together to ignite curiosity and optimism for the future of the world’s oceans. With the generous support of The Safina Center, I had the opportunity to participate in this incredible conference which was easily one of the most unique and encouraging events I have ever experienced.

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