As I write this, I am on a five-hour flight from L.A. to New York, e-mailing associates and writing a blog while watching the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial on Direct TV from an altitude of 35,000 feet. Now, who could have imagined that, even as recently as 15 years ago? Back then, hardly anyone would have known what the Internet was, let alone been able to conceive of things like Facebook, Twitter or Google (not to mention Google Maps or Google +) or the ability to access all these incredible technological advances while hurtling through the upper atmosphere.
But as I marvel at these amazing developments that have enabled us to instantaneously communicate with or view just about anyplace on Earth, I can’t help but be reminded of the Biblical warning, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” For every day, just as quickly as we are being introduced to all the latest wonders of man’s inventiveness, we are also losing more and more of the natural wonders that comprise the very soul of our planet – especially our marine ecosystem.
Now some people will rationalize that the destruction of the natural world is the price we must pay for progress, while others will maintain that progress is the nemesis of preservation. But I profoundly disagree with both arguments, preferring to believe that the same technologies that have enabled us to gain mastery over vast distances and interact with others from miles aloft can also be put to use in ensuring the continued survival of the oceans and the creatures that inhabit them. But for that to happen (and I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t emphasize it enough), we’ll need to fully recognize and appreciate the extent to which our own survival is dependent on theirs.
Progress can not only coexist with preservation, but can actually promote it – provided we align our progress with protection.