Google Ocean launches

Screen shot from an "Ocean Flight"

Screen shot from an “Ocean Flight”

Google Earth has added a very significant embellishment to their wonderful mapping application; “Google Ocean.”

(see: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/science/earth/03oceans.html?_r=2&hp )

This new tool will allow anybody to explore the ocean at will, and free of charge. I believe that the introduction of this feature into our global inquiry will have a profound effect on how everybody perceives the ocean.

Ocean conservation has been somewhat marginalized due to a couple of perceptual constraints: First, the ocean is unbelievably large. It so defies our ability to comprehend, it has been thought of as “limitless.” Second, unless folks live near the ocean, it is very abstract; so folks in the heartlands have no sense of how important the sea is to our human survival.

As a consequence of the “incomprehensible abstraction” of the ocean, conservation efforts have likewise been poorly understood and greatly underrepresented. (For every dollar spent on terrestrial conservation, only about ½ cent is spent on the ocean.)

Until recently people have not understood that the ocean does have limits, and the human enterprise has been exceeding them for decades.

I believe that Google Ocean will provide a profound window into the ocean – as a geographical body, as well as an imaginal, or archetypal force. This will have a positive effect on how we treat the sea, and how we act to restore ocean habitat.

None too soon! My deep gratitude goes out to Dr. Sylvia Earle and John Hanke (of Google) for brining this fabulous new tool into fruition.

Check it out!