I grew up by the ocean in south Florida. I learned to swim early enough that it's been said I spent nine months in the water (the womb), nine months out, and hopped right back in. Another friend once said God must have screwed up in the lab because I obviously should have been born a fish. I've been a diver since I was a kid and even spent a stretch working as an instructor after college. Even these days, when I'm away from the ocean for far longer than I'd care to be, I find ways to surround myself with little reminders - a bowl full of grain of rice-sized cowrie shells and quarter-sized sand dollars I picked up on dives back home, some paper-thin, deep purple shells I collected in southwestern Turkey, an intact seagull skull scavenged from the beach near my mom's, and lots of sea glass and sea beans. These days it may be a year or more between dives for me instead of the six or eight a day routine I kept up while working on dive boats, but the feeling is always the same when I hit the water and swim straight for the bottom - like going home.
Given all that, you can imagine my reaction to Pres. Obama's announcement on the expansion of offshore drilling. It's not a solution to anything and including it in climate change legislation is insulting. We've still only managed to explore about five percent of the world's oceans and seem intent on destroying them, one way or another, before we can even get a glimpse at the rest.
(images from the Surfrider Foundation, map from NYTimes)