I spent the weekend at the Boston Sea Rovers 62nd Annual Clinic. Despite the fact that the the talks were better this year than in the past, they’re not what stuck with me the most. There was a side room of undersea artwork done by middle and high school students on display there, winners of the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Awards. The quality of the work was truly amazing. Even the works by the younger students showed a degree of control and mastery that I couldn’t have aspired to then. But the thing that was noticeable was that they all dealt with pollution, and the ways we’re mistreating the planet. It was so consistent I had to ask about it, and in fact, that was the theme of the contest. And it made me sad.
It is true that I have seen things that will disappear by the time they’re my age. It is true that they will have to deal with the consequences of a rising ocean. It is undeniable that humanity has not been a proper steward of the oceans.
And yet, I feel doom and gloom is the wrong thing to be teaching kids. There is so much that is awe inspiring about the oceans, even today. The whole show, especially the film festival last night, is a testament to the beauty and wonder of the seas, and I would rather have kids exposed to that first, before being weighted down with the threats to the planet. I want them to see the wonders first, because if they learn to love the ocean, the desire to conserve it will come naturally.