|Photograph taken by Brian Skerry|
I left having learned something, but it's not what I expected, though I did learn a great deal about under water photography ( a subject that I would love to explore one day ). I have always been amazed at the things of the Ocean, I am not a fan of eating it, though I have tried to a few times in my life, but also, there is a small amount (okay, large) of fear of the unknown. I remember snorkeling with Tim on our honeymoon and I met up with a barracuda , a touch scary, but just as I was getting over that I dove down deep and shooting out of the muddy ground came a huge set of teeth, I choked on water as I raced to the surface and away from the teeth that I was sure were chasing me. I was barely able to tell Tim what I had seen but in the end it had been a Moray eel. So you see, when it comes to things of the ocean I am a wimp. However, there is also that part of me who is absolutely fascinated by the thought of so many things left to discover, and I love the larger animals, whales, sharks, dolphins. On the same trip where I met with the creepy side of the ocean I also went snorkeling with sharks and sting rays and though aware of my nerves there was also a very deep sense of God, of knowing that I am one tiny part of this HUGE world. There is a whole other universe down there and it's actually larger than ours up here, and yet we are bent on destroying it, as the photographer said last night, 'the Ocean is not a grocery store'.
At the end of the talk Brian took some questions, and one of them adressed the idea of eating seafood. His response, was to ask questions, made wise decisions. He himself will eat seafood, but he won't eat shrimp gathered up in nets that also kill numerous other creatures just for a few pounds of shrimp that will be devoured in minutes. He asked us to think ethically about our food. This is not the first call to ethical consumerism I have heard recently. A small group of friends and I have been talking about Coffee, Chocolate and this month will be clothing, we have been discussing the ethical approach or non approach to buying our food/clothes and how to ask the right questions to get the answers we need so that we aren't a part in a chain that is keeping a child in a factory, a man unable to earn enough to feed his family or a woman or girl who works from dawn to dusk for a couple of bucks to make you that favorite pair of jeans. We are beginning to ask questions of the companies, to learn more, to show interest and hopefully show them that we care about buying products that care about the ethical treatment of their workers.
Last nights talk reminded me that if I care about a child working in a factory, or a man chained hours a day to a farm that earns little if any money, then I would be a hypocrite to not care about the ethics involved in the fishing industry. If I care about the Jungle, or the animals in Africa, then I too must think about and care about the Ocean and the issues that she faces. The boys these days are all into the Lion King, and as I heard the talk last night I couldn't help but hear the song Circle of Life floating around my head. There is a delicate balance, take out a layer and it topples the remaining layers, and lets face it, there is more Ocean than Land so if that topples I think we would be in trouble.
Take a moment to listen to this guy speak, an look at those photos! WOW!