• Jessica J. Ginting

Swimming in Our Seas: Past, Present and Future

Updated: May 18, 2019

If I wasn't a writer, I would be a biologist. Most likely a marine biologist, because the ocean is the single largest organism that connects us all. The pull of gravity is strong enough to keep a planet tightly bound in a sphere, but water. . . water was where all life began and oceans became the bridges that connected lands. Of course, these oceanic paths of discovery turned into paths of colonialism and the image of groups of people arriving in ships invoked much more different, sinister connotations: invasion, slavery, war and disease.

Ever since the world started modernizing, our oceans are the ones carrying the weight of our progress (and by weight, I mean consequences). You've probably seen that video of a turtle with a straw in its nose, the photograph of a seahorse with its tail wrapped around a cotton bud, or even the crab stuck in a plastic cup. Pollution is the most obvious of our Mother's pains; it is the disease infecting Her system, seeping into Her blue blood and attacking all life what exists within Her.

Photo by Michael Benz on Unsplash

The push for mass production, the increasingly globalized scale of trade and commerce as well as the demand for oil and gas to be shipped from part of the world to another daily and in bulk. . . all of this is threatening the very integrity of the water that binds us all. To reference Angels in America once more, the world will never able to ever stop moving. Progress is in our blood. We will perish without it.

However, we can try to start moving with more purpose. What good is progress if we are pushing for it at the expense of the world around us? We are too quick to dream of standing on top of the world when we should be standing beside those who are closest to us, the communities near and the people we hold dear. Our ocean is a gift and we were given free rein to lose ourselves in the currents and let them take us wherever we need to be in life.

The invention of airplanes made us impatient, quick to jump from one place to another. Traveling by sea is a much slower, much more deliberate process. You are forced to connect with the very thing that moves you, to be aware of the sound of waves crashing against your ship and the winds beating against your sails. In an airplane, the roaring engines take over and the cabin pressure keeps you locked in a controlled and sheltered environment.

What is our vision for the future of our oceans then? On Earth-19, our future is their present. As the snippet from ROSANA! says:

"Look around you, we are all drifting further from each other day by day."

Is a less-connected world the key to sustainability? If we were to all retreat to our separate islands and not leave the borders of our coastlines, would that make for a better world? Who benefits from seclusion and will it be detrimental for certain communities? It may be difficult to imagine a world so separated these days, when we are all connected by the Internet and social media. Even beyond these recent developments, we've never been very good at separating ourselves from each other. I tweeted this last week:

"In Indonesia, it is difficult to be alone. Solitude is a struggle; the process of carving out a quiet space for yourself is a gruesome fight against the elaborate webs of community and family. Every tear in the web feels like a tear in your own flesh, even." (@rosanacomic)

In ROSANA! there is wound in the country revealing itself. It starts with an aircraft tearing through the night from above and ends back in the waters, where all life began, although our protagonist can't see that just yet. The ocean never stops moving, no matter what we do on land and in air. Perhaps the most enduring of all living beings, the ocean will be around far longer than any of us will, so it's best not to get on Her bad side while we're still alive to face Her wrath.

Jessica J. Ginting