By: Adira Nehme
It is Oceans Week in Halifax, and I have been asked the question of what the ocean means to me. When asked I sat and started to think about what the ocean means to me and what it might mean to other people. I realized that the ocean has always been important to me but I saw it through a much smaller lens than I do now, after starting here at Afishionado.
Growing up in Nova Scotia, the ocean has always been my favourite place to be. It would be where I went if I needed clarity. I found that no matter what I was looking for I could always find it in the ocean. It gave me adventure and excitement, but also peace and relaxation. The ocean has always been my happy place, no matter where I am, no matter what beach I am visiting, it always manages to give me exactly what I need.
I remember growing up, I had friends come to visit who had never seen the ocean in person before, they had never seen waves crashing against a shore line, and had never tasted the salt in the water. It was astonishing to me that people could live their entire lives and never see the ocean. I couldn’t imagine having a life where I wasn’t just a short drive to the nearest beach. That is something I think a lot of people in Nova Scotia can resonate with.
As I grew up I also met people who had a fear of the ocean. The great unknown, deep, dark and cold. I remember hearing one time that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of our own oceans. It always amazed me how something I found such safety and comfort in, could be somebody else’s biggest fear. I think it is because people have such strong feelings about the ocean that we have the aquaculture industry that we do. Strong emotions lead to strong reactions, even negative ones. Fear, for example, can lead to curiosity which can lead to research, which can drive innovation.
When I started working at Afishionado I became more aware of the ocean as a provisional tool, how many jobs the fishery industry provides, how the ocean can put food on the table for so many families around the world. We all have such strong connections with the ocean and our livelihood depends on it, so we should be doing everything in our power to try and sustain it.
The ocean has always played a significant role in my life, but now more than ever before I see the true value in appreciating and protecting our oceans. I think that Oceans Week is a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on why they care about this issue, because at the end of the day it really does impact all of us, we all care about this topic for one reason or another and now is the perfect opportunity to learn more about what we can do to help protect it.