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Taking the Ocean Personally

A diver swims amidst a school of fish.

Last week, we began asking visitors to the Ocean Portal a simple question: “How do you feel about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?"

We’ve received one Haiku and a slew of other interesting answers. Many people mourned the loss of wildlife, habitats, and ways-of-life. Many expressed frustration and a sense of helplessness. But perhaps the most interesting theme among the answers was a sense that we all can—and indeed must—do more to protect the ocean. I am “thinking very hard about the choices I make about energy use,” wrote one visitor. “I need to protect what I can,” wrote another. A third said simply: “I need to be more involved in what’s happening in the world.”

So today—World Ocean Day, 2010—we pose this challenge to all of our visitors: take the ocean personally. Find one more thing you can do in your own life to make a positive difference. Then do it.

We use the phrase Find Your Blue to describe the simple, crucial act of recognizing your own connection to the ocean—and acting on it. You can begin by making small changes in your daily routine. Or by learning more about the ocean and threats to its health.

One great way to get started is by joining us tonight for evening of deep thinking with renowned marine scientist Jeremy Jackson of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Dr. Jackson’s talk “Brave New Ocean” will kick off our new lecture series Changing Tides by taking a hard look at biodiversity loss in the ocean. The program begins at 6:00 pm (EDT) in Baird Auditorium at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. If you can’t be here in person, the program will be webcast live.

What you hear may be startling, but hopefully it will also be inspiring. The ocean needs our help, and together, we have the power to protect and restore it. Join us.