January 26, 2007
We have entered New Zealand waters! As such, all scanning of the ocean floor has stopped and crew and scientist are preparing to leave the ship tomorrow. As my last journal entry I wanted to pause and reflect on this adventure. Someone, somewhere, said something like "and the young men go down to sea". I'm not sure of the author but I found it somewhat connected to me and this adventure. As a young man in the 60's I was constantly exposed to the sea adventures of the ship Calypso and the Cousteau family. John Denver even wrote a song about the ship and its adventures. I found myself very early in life saying to myself; "that is what I want to do someday". Well my dreams came true in the fall of 2005 when I found out that I would be going on the R/V Roger Revelle. It has truly been a fantastic journey. What did I learn? What did I do? My journal entries probably do not do justice to the impact this journey has had. Yes, I learned how a ship operates at sea. Yes, I learned that even veteran seamen get sea sick. Yes, I saw science being used to explore the world. It was more then that. What I really learned, or I guess I had to be reminded, is that we are not alone. Mankind, myself included, become too concerned in our own daily lives to really understand that we are part of a fantastic, finely tuned relationship. Everything (man, the large and small animals of the earth, the atmosphere in which we live, and the waters covering over 85% of the Earth) are connected. If you change or damage one, you also will be changed or damaged. Within the chemistry laboratory on board the Roger Revelle we tested for oxygen, chlorine, nitrates and other chemicals within the sediment. Why? We have found that over the years mankind has been slowly changing his world. Yes, you can point to many things good that we have done (life-span lengthen, better health, easier living, etc.) but we have also been creating changes in the Earth we may not be able to change back. Our ocean and its partner, the atmosphere, have been changed by mankind. Higher levels of carbon dioxide and other hydrocarbons are found. Heavy metals and other pollutants are increasing. Average temperatures are changing throughout the world. The R/V Roger Revelle and ships like her are all concerned with first measuring the changes we are doing to the Earth. What effect it will ultimately have on mankind's survival on this Earth will depend on how we interpret these findings and act. So, what will I do now? I will first print a photo of the Roger Revelle and post it at my home and my school. I will use this to perhaps constantly remind me of my connections in the event I begin to forget again. What will I do then? I will talk! If people listen, I will talk about my adventure and the oceans about us. I will talk about our findings. I will talk about our connections. I will talk about our need to act now. Maybe, some will listen.