EDITORIAL

MARINE CONSERVATION

I. Some Basic Considerations

We have entered a time when the future of life on Earth depends increasingly upon us.  We now have a capacity to consume, pollute, and destroy that can overwhelm nature's ability to provide, cleanse, and replenish.  Some believe market forces and technology will always find solutions, others that God will provide.  Reality, littered with a history of catastrophes, tells a different story.  Always too there are those predicting imminent disaster and proclaiming the need for prohibitions or preparations.  Their record of accuracy is near zero. 

Markets, gods, and prophets aren't going to bail us out. We are going to have to do it ourselves.   Clear thinking and a willingness to make hard decisions is the only effective approach.  This isn't going to be easy.  The matters involved are obscured by claptrap from all sides.  Self serving arguments, paroxysms of  righteousness, religion, ideology, well meaning nonsense, and plain old greed and lies swarm like flies around a carcass about these issues.  Sorting reality from fiction is going to require careful and ongoing consideration, starting first and foremost with ones own ideas and beliefs.  Until one is prepared to critically examine these and recognize their own uncertainties and limits unbiased consideration of others is not possible. 

Trying to impose ideas and prohibitions doesn't work.  They only become truly effective when we make them our own.  Developing and promoting effective ideas requires an open mind.  It will entail re-examining the basics of our beliefs.  Nothing can be above question and nothing accepted as given other than what can be verified from the world around us.  Shedding millennia of accumulated superstition isn't easy but it can be done and doing so leads to a very different concept of the world, oneself, and one's place in the scheme of things.

Basic to this is the realization we are not so much "in" this world as we are "of" it.  Our very being is inextricable from the whole.  How we treat that whole including the other beings that are part of both it and indeed part of we ourselves has much to do with how we experience it.  What we do to it and to others we do to ourselves.

In addition to basic philosophical misperceptions we have a couple of bad intellectual habits to break.  One is that we tend to not use reason to arrive at belief but rather believe what suits us and then use reason only insofar as it can justify that belief. The other is that we are poor at weighing immediate satisfaction against long term consequences.  Whether it's credit card spending, smoking cigarettes, fast driving, eating too much, our impact on the environment, or how we treat others, we too often go for immediate desire despite big time cost just down the track a bit.  While instinct and culture foster the short term view successful living invariably entails adopting a longer perspective.

Diving and underwater photography has much to do with all this.  No other place on Earth puts us in such close contact with the marvel and mystery of life as do coral reefs.  Only in the sea can we experience personal encounters with brains even larger than our own.  Even more remarkable, they recognize us as something special and treat us with mutual curiosity, friendship, and respect. In contrast to the increasing artificiality of life in modern society stepping through the magic mirror of the ocean's surface brings us instantly back to the realities of life on many levels.  So often the experience provokes a strange sense of deja vu, as if somehow, on some level, it is something we have had a deep connection with for a long long time.  

Most divers end up wanting to capture and share something of what they experience underwater, hence the popularity of underwater photography.  Around the world literally thousands of underwater photographs are now being taken every day.  Few will reach an appreciative audience.  Fewer still will do so in a form that does justice to the original image much less to the original subject matter or the personal experience that was involved. 

One of the aims of Golden Dolphin is to provide a superior medium of presentation that can do justice to the images, subject matter and experiences of the underwater world and so to contribute to a greater appreciation of this wondrous thing called life.  GD is a medium that can present poetry, prose, images, graphic art, video, music and storytelling separately or in any combination.  It is accessible to subscribers anywhere in the world at the same modest price.  Its commercial concerns are for its subscribers and contributors, not advertisers.  It is open source, not captive to any "in group".  

If you have something to say, show or tell whether it is about ideas, experiences or information, whether it is brief or extensive, do get in touch.  This is a new medium for a new age.  It is time to start thinking about new approaches, new ideas, new ways of doing things.  There is much to consider and much to communicate.  If we take too long, our future will be decided by events not by we ourselves.  History indicates they tend to harsh judgment if left to their own devices.


 Walter Starck
 Editor/Publisher
 wstarck@goldendolphin.com