We are all connected to the oceans.  Whether an individual or an international organization, the oceans are of more value to them as a healthy renewable bounty offering them rich and diverse resources and ecosystems. However, they are finite, and their future is shaped by our actions.  Here are a few facts about the oceans that either remain largely unknown or are simply being ignored by us. 

TEXT by george speirs & celia gregory

We are all connected to the oceans.  Whether an individual or an international organization, the oceans are of more value to them as a healthy renewable bounty offering them rich and diverse resources and ecosystems. However, they are finite, and their future is shaped by our actions.  Here are a few facts about the oceans that either remain largely unknown or are simply being ignored by us. 

The oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surfaces. They act as the lungs of the planet with 70% of the earth’s oxygen coming from phytoplankton. 18,000 molecules which are of pharmacological interest have been discovered in marine organisms in the last 40 years. Meanwhile, corals reefs cover 0.1% of the ocean bed, but provide a habitat to 34% of marine life. More than 20% of the world’s coral reefs have disappeared. This raises great concerns as less than 1.4% of our oceans are protected.

Ultimately we all rely on their continuing health, it is time to protect and nurture our marine treasures.

“It is clear that marine habitat around the world is in mass decline and a radical new creative approach is needed to halt the destruction” says Celia Persephone Gregory, founder of the Marine Foundation of the state of our world’s oceans. 

“I believe using the lucrative economy of art mixed with vital economy of tourism we can help re-inject a sense of value and awe of our oceans back into society, helping the world to once again revere the wonderful hidden underwater world that is so desperately in need of protecting.”

The Marine Foundation is an international eco arts organisation with a new approach to marine conservation where art is at the centre and the catalyst for conservation, sustainable resource management and social change. They offer a visionary approach to restoring marine habitats by the creation of bespoke underwater sculptures that are designed with creative and scientific innovation. Interactive Eco art aims to revive the marine ecosystems thus providing sustainable options for income for the local communities. The artworks use  technology such as  Bio-rock®, which utilises electrolysis that re-grows coral as well as working with artificial reef methods which provide solid surfaces  for coral  to settle on and places for fish to hide.

Founded in 2009 by Celia Gregory, The Marine Foundation’s was conceptualised during an around-the-world PADI dive training course. She saw that tourism was one of the main catalysts causing the destruction of habitats on the island and in its oceans. Some of the best dive sites around the world are wrecks, also known as ‘artificial’ reefs. As an artist, Celia began to question the possibility of intentionally introducing man-made materials into ecosystems for sustenance of marine life and also opening a door to a new art. With a five-year involvement in Indonesia, Celia is very content on how the locals have embraced the concept.

‘Living Sculptures in the Sea’ is an international program of underwater sculptures supported by the ‘Art for Oceans’ program, which engages a wider discipline of arts.  Art has the power to convey information in a subtle yet dynamic way and it is this relationship to the arts that makes this concept so unique. ‘Art’ underwater invites experiences that are not possible on land; to swim over, swim through and dive down to the installations along with the interaction of marine life that live within and on the artworks, giving an ever changing dimension.  A new eco-art platform allows the creative to express and explore a value for the treasures of our blue planet. 

‘Art for Oceans’ uses creativity as the vessel to engage and educate people. They recognise that the preservation of the marine environment is predicated on an integrated approach to tourism and wealth creation. ‘Art for Oceans’ assists individuals, communities and businesses to rediscover the importance of healthy oceans, marine environments and waterways through sculptural commissions, art programs, exhibitions, conference, campaigns, art and science education, live events and festivals. 

 

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