Humans Must Look Deeper for Future Insights

Natalie Gomlinski

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved going to the beach, but I never really understood just how wide and deep these waters really spread and the billions of organisms living beneath its surface. Even though it may seem like we know so much about the landscape that gives us life, National Ocean Service states that we have explored less than 20 percent of our bodies of water. Instead, we have spent almost all our time and money on something that is far above us: space.  

Ever since the race to the moon, America has spent billions and billions of dollars trying to explore space and the answers it could give us. They never considered that maybe all the answers we need could be right here on Earth, in the depths of the 80 percent of uncharted ocean.   

From the little ocean exploration that we have done, we’ve learned quite a few things. So far, our knowledge of the ocean has helped us “reveal new sources for medical therapies and vaccines, food, energy, and more” according to NOAA. As stated by Ocean Today, “two marine-derived drugs are already in use — an anti-tumor medication derived from sea squirts and a painkiller from a cone snail”. Think of all the astonishing discoveries we can make if we take the time and money to unearth the ocean’s secrets.  

Furthermore, the ocean is an endangered landscape. In 50 years, there’s a very good chance that the ocean could be dead. According to the National History Museum, “nature is stretching to breaking point. If we don’t stop, the ocean could be drastically changed within our lifetimes”. If we don’t shift our focus from space to the ocean real soon, we are going to lose the only chance we have to explore the sea and use the answers it gives us to save humanity.  

John Steinbeck, an American author and Nobel Prize winner, sent a plea to NASA stating, “There is never much argument about appropriations for space shots, but a recent request for money to explore, map, and evaluate the hidden places of our mother earth brought howls of protest from Congressional leaders and the inevitable question—is it really necessary?”.  This information shows that the government is favoring the exploration of space over the ocean. The question is: why? Is there a reason that NASA is so fixated on space, and not the magnificent wonder that lies right here on our Earth?  

I understand why some scientists have the need to learn how the Earth and this universe came to be. We want the answers to help us comprehend what this world really is, and what brought us to live here. Space is so big that we’re certain all the answers must lie there, but who’s to say those answers cannot lie here on this Earth, in the immense oceans covering 70% of this planet? We first need to uncover the answers that are right here, on our planet, before we try to make sense of all the other mysteries set in space.  

Time is running out for us humans on this Earth; we won’t be here for when the world ends. The least we can do is to try to make sense of our world before we are wiped out.  If we don’t take the time to look at our oceans and try to find more answers, then our life here was for nothing.  

I know I won’t be here long enough to find out what the ocean truly means to us, but I hope future generations will be able to visit the beach and understand that we have learned so much about our vast world just by exploring the depths of what has been here with us all along.