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Two years ago, my family and I vacationed at Orange Beach, AL, immediately after the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster. The beaches were in decent shape, but everything could not be hidden. Covered up by the sands on the beach were globs of oil, revealed by the tide and waves. Over the course of a week in our area of beach, I was able to pick up a pint-sized bottle of globs of oil of various sizes, enmeshed with sand, bits of shells, other ocean garbage, and continued to grow. I brought it back to Memphis, TN, where it now resides on my desk in the education department of the City of Memphis Pink Palace Museum & IMAX/Planetarium. I show this bottle of disaster-leftovers to as many of our visiting student classes as possible, as a real-world example of why it is important, even though the students who pass through here live far from the oceanside, to pass along the importance of ecology, conservation and stewardship. It's not easy, as the oceans are thought of as an S.E.P. (Someone Else's Problem). Therein lies one part of the main issue: even though the gathering mass of garbage in the waters of our planet appears to be far from inland places like Memphis, TN, it is still a part of every human's world, just as much as if we lived in Moscow, Marrakesh or Montreal.  Education and - most importantly - the desire to explore, to be curious, to be willing to be a steward of the planet must be paramount in any future endeavors where the ocean is concerned. The disconnect of distance is a problem, and can be overcome through education and a promotion of scientific careers. As with the example of the Rhine recovery in the above article, there is a solution to the slow choking of the oceans,overfishing, undercare and general misuse. It will take education and experience to accomplish it and to turn aside any future threats by furthering the future numbers of scientists, teachers, engineering, mathematicians, oceanographers, biologists - and scientifically-literate politicians - as much as possible in the here-and-now. Inventing the future by battling to save it. Austen L. Onek, AMS MeteorologistWREG-TV News Channel 3 Memphis, TN, 

2 years, 1 month ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet