If you know the history of my “OceanDoctor” moniker, then you know my daughter, Anna, had everything to do with it. This weekend marks two significant events: World Oceans Day and the one year anniversary of the OceanDoctor blog. These events have given me a moment of reflection.
I spend a lot of time worrying about the future of Anna’s generation and the environmental legacy they will inherit from us. I also am perpetually curious about the next generation’s perceptions and attitudes about the environment around them.
Anna is a world away this summer, in the heart of the Middle East in the tiny country of Bahrain, nestled in the Persian Gulf just north of Quatar off the eastern Saudi Arabian peninsula, where she is completing her college studies. To commemorate this special weekend, I thought it would be most appropriate to hear a few words from the next generation, specifically from Anna, to hear firsthand how her young eyes are perceiving her day-to-day life living beside the aquamarine Persian Gulf. I’m pleased to share Anna’s words with you:
“This summer, I find myself traveling in the Gulf region of the Middle East. The people here are extraordinarily friendly, warm, and generous. However, I don’t notice this goodness being shown only towards visitors such as myself. As I drive on a bridge over the ocean, I see people fishing, enjoying a stroll by the water, or simply sitting down, marveling at the infinite stretch of blue and turquoise in front of them. In their faces I can see a sense of appreciation. It is in these moments that I find myself realizing that while I may look different from the locals or be accustomed to different traditions than them, we are no different from each other when it comes to loving and protecting that which we are so fortunate to have. The oceans are no exception. The Middle East may still be catching up to my home country, the US, when it comes to anti-pollution measures and other ways to protect our seas. However, it is clear to me that the Middle East is not indifferent. With this in mind, I begin to think that the miles and miles that I flew over here will not succeed at creating a barrier between the hearts of people where I am from and where I find myself now.” — Anna Pavlichenko
May World Oceans Day bring you happiness and fulfillment, wherever your ocean lies.