The Colorado Ocean Coalition with support from the Sylvia Earle Alliance and Teens for Oceans held their annual 2011 Ocean Symposium that attracted over 600 people interested in ocean issues.
From the opening through to closing for the night, and every moment in between, the Colorado Ocean Coalition’s 1st anniversary Symposium was a rousing success! Today’s event started out with remarks by Vicki Nichols Goldstein. When Vicki introduced Dr. Sylvia Earle, the crowd greeted her with an enthusiastic and well-deserved standing ovation, and that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon’s presentations. The overall theme was “Making Waves In Colorado”, focusing on how the Rockies are indeed akin to the ocean, and how all ecosystems are intrinsically linked, attached and incorporated. The point of the symposium was to teach about how we are indeed affected and impacting the oceans of the world, and some of the ways in which we can all be part of the solution.
Dr. Earle has been a forerunner and champion of the oceans for over 2 score of years, and a continuing inspiration to many of us involved in conservation and marine sciences today. Few in the field would not know of her pioneering work, living below the ocean’s surface for extended periods of time, exploring the Innerspace of this planet, and sharing her discoveries with us all. Each new discovery just seemed to beg more questions, and Sylvia Earle was always leading those inquiring mind who wanted to know.
In her presentation during the first session of the Symposium, she poetically and profoundly noted “Even if you never touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take.”
Ever modest and gracious, her presentation went on to show us some of the wonders of the deep, while reminding us that we’ve only begun to explore the 70% of this blue planet that is the oceans. She points out that we are unable to visit the depths of the oceans, noting that simply traveling to 5,000 feet ABOVE sea level wouldn’t be good enough, that we must scale ALL of the height of a mountain… and it should not be good enough that we explore only the first fraction of the ocean’s depths either. Indeed, there are many species still being discovered, many wonders we’ve yet to see.
There were many booths along the Bridge between the Auditorium and the smaller meeting rooms. Participants included the Colorado chapter of Sea Shepherd, the 5 Gyres Institute, the Oceanic Preservation Society, NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuaries, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Teens4Oceans, Windhorse Lightships L3C, Green Apple, and Wild Goose Engineering… and that’s only about half of the booths! (Apologies to those not named. Please contact us to add your organization to the list if we’ve unwittingly missed you.)
Throughout the day, at least 3 presentation rooms were packed at all times. Teachers had a professoinal workshop, expert adventurers shared their tales, and people helped the guests to better understand the ocean, plastics, and other threats to the watery majority of the planet, and the ways in which the oceans of the world and the lands are inextricably linked. After the presentations, most all allowed time for Questions and Answers with the panels and speakers.
Topics included “How Colorado Flows to the Ocean” and “Climate Change from 30 Feet Under.” Children’s presentations were also ample, ensuring an enjoyable, optimistic and informative day for everyone.
A few more photos of the event are provided below:
and finally, a message and goal regarding the use of disposable plastics: