Baba Dioum once said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” This quote has spoken to many and changed views of the world. We are all born with a burning curiosity for our natural world. Unfortunately for many of us, this curiosity is put on the back burner throughout our schooling years. We tend to become disheartened or even misled to think that observing nature requires some sort of intensive and boring scientific methodology. 

This is not the case. Although science does include many aspects that might be considered bland, those are not the things that keep a scientist motivated. In fact, those boring factors are just a small aspect of what they do. Science is the tool that allows you to understand your world and yourself. Science is knowledge and knowledge is power. As Baba Dioum said we can only protect something if we understand it and can only understand if we are taught. Everyone has something they love. Whether it is the snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the incredible geology of the Zion National Park or the coral reefs of The Caribbean, we all have a personal connection with a particular environment that has touched us. 

Sometimes we feel so strongly connected to these environments that it takes over our lives. It becomes an obsession. When we cultivate curiosity we cultivate meaning to our life. Carl Sagan said it best, “Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.” Your passions are one of the most powerful tools that you have. Following those passions will lead you to become an empowered steward with the authority to protect what it is that infatuated you originally. T4O knows that we cannot give you passion or curiosity but what we can give you are the tools to explore or rejuvenate what interests you. Letting a human explore their interest in depth is the purest form of empowerment and is crucial to creating a generation of environmentally minded youth with the power and knowledge to generate a sustainable future. 

For us it is the ocean, mysterious yet beautiful. The vastness and emptiness that we see above vanishes the moment you fall beneath the waves and see her as she really is, the nursery and life support of this planet. To love the ocean is one thing but to go under and experience that world creates a connection that is hard to break. And when you come back to the surface and realize that we are harming that world, it breaks your heart. That being said, we need you, the Ocean Stewards, to experience the blue planet and become empowered to protect it.