8 March 2013
As always I read with interest each new posting on your most excellent website, particularly the criticism of the Malthusian mind set so dominant among those only capable of looking at this magnificent planet in finite terms.
My life has been mostly associated with the ocean, growing up in the Bahamas, diving in the military and, most importantly, spending the last 40 years making films principally about the ocean for BBC, Channel 4 and French Television. As with anyone who spends time on and in the ocean I am aware of it’s vastness and how little we actually know about it. 72% of the planet is covered by ocean as well as the fact that 50% of the United States territory is underwater and yet we have better maps of Mars than we do of that 50%!
I come from Australia and am well aware that most of the Southern Ocean is still unexplored – as a matter of fact there were more oceanographic ships in that area in the time of Captain Cook then there are today. Beneath the surface of most all our oceans is a mountain range 67,000 kilometers long that covers ¼ of the entire planets surface. This mountain range comprises of tens of thousand of volcanoes, most continually spewing out commercial grades and in commercial quantities of copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold, the near-by ocean floor covered with massive heavy metal deposits and rare earths and the geothermal potential is limitless.
In many places man is wading into the sea to build harbors, housing, airports, extending the shore seawards, and the idea of cities being built in shallow regions is technically feasible today if the need arises.
Fishing, with the proper controls in place and exploiting new methods of husbandry that allows the fish to live their life cycle normally, but protects the larval and embryonic stage from predation, can assure a protein source large enough to feed a global population much larger than that of today.
All of this is without even thinking of the tens of millions of hectares of land that are unpopulated and unused on the planet’s surface. With man’s ability to make the desert bloom and build structures that adapt to climates considered hostile, huge regions could be opened to housing, manufacturing and agriculture.
These are the challenges that we should be confronting with new generations of scientists, engineers, construction workers as well as artists and musicians, young and old, people who see the brilliant future of mankind and are willing to accept the risks that will be part and parcel of our reaching out as it has always been.
Director of the Hans Hass Award that seeks to inspire young men and women to plot a career course towards the oceans.