The Link Between Our Oceans and Space
Cody Miller has spent most of his life underwater. Even before he nationally ranked as a college swimmer, this 30-year-old marine biologist was destined to make a big splash, spending more hours floating than walking. “My dad was the head lifeguard growing up, so I basically was at the beach every day and fell in love with the marine organisms and environment”, he says from Cardiff-By-The-Sea, a bucolic coastal town in California, where he lives. “To me, the ocean is the closest we have to outer space on earth.”
Any person that has surfed, gone scuba or free diving, can relate to that feeling: zero gravity, total freedom, alien species all around. Imagine you had the chance to spacewalk, and over time, you notice each of the stars in the firmament begin to shut down, one by one, until the cosmos loses its glow. Something similar happens whenever Cody hits the ocean. “[Unfortunately,] my most memorable climate-related experience would be seeing the devastation to the coral reefs. I’m only 30 years old and just in my lifetime, I’ve seen drastic changes in the health of coral reefs around the world.” It’s why Cody has dedicated his schedule on-land to share his experiences through interviews and academic programs, raising awareness on carbon emissions and global climate change.
“The most powerful thing we can do as an individual is to spend our time, money, and resources into educating our circle, as well as, living by example,” he says. He doesn’t take learning and sharing information lightly; his career includes studying at UCSB, UCSD, & University of Hawai’i, with work experience in algal botany, coral reef ecology, and charity campaigns, to name a few. Somehow, Cody has managed to launch his own business too, Cardiff®, a sustainable sunglasses and watch company.
Despite working around the clock (and the world) to raise awareness about our Ocean’s degradation, Cody observes that we’re not doing enough to tackle the emergency our waterways are facing. We tend to think of climate change in terms of our rainforests, and often show more interest in launching rockets into space for exploration, instead of researching the unknowns of our own planet, studying topics such as the depths of our seabed for conservation purposes. “Acidification is not talked about as much as it should be. Water encompasses the majority of this planet, yet marine organisms received drastically less support than many terrestrial organisms.” The root of this, according to him, lies in the fact that we’re not aligning our collective necessities, nor thinking about the long-game.
Our limited connection to the oceans, as well as a myopic capitalist approach to quality of life, has affected the way we perceive our role in society: “Leadership and economy are based upon consumption and don’t reward eating healthy, living plastic-free, or even being a more selfless person. We as citizens of the U.S. [and the world] need to change the way we are and interact in our economy, so leadership is forced to follow.” Even though not all of us might have the energy and trajectory that Cody has built over the years, we can all do our part: as individuals change, one-by-one, we generate critical mass and create change. Cody’s cosmic analogy rings true again; we’re each a star, radiant in our own way, but together, we shine brighter.