Fascinated by the ocean, Chicago gal Alex Rose has always seen the beauty of marine life and the ecosystems. She studied Aquatic Biology and became a certified scuba diver. She took up underwater photography and landed a job working for Ocean Geographic as their senior editor. Through this position, she has helped educate and inspire people, but she wanted to do more.
And that is where Blue Ring comes in.
Alex, tell me why you have launched Blue Ring?
I founded Blue Ring to create a new method of ocean conservation accessible to and inclusive of everyone who wants to better understand and protect our seas. So a bit about Blue Ring first. It is a Benefit Corporation that will allow people to “marry” the ocean. Instead of using “marry” with the conventional spelling, it will instead be spelled “mery” because of its correlation with the root word “mer” meaning “sea.” Mery™ is a trademarked word that will be closely used and associated with the Blue Ring brand to denote one’s ongoing and committed relationship with the ocean.
Participation will cost $25 for a 1-year membership, and this will get you a digital “Meriage Certificate” along with a blue silicone ring to show off your commitment. People under the age of 18 can also be “adopted” by the ocean and become “children of the sea.” They will receive a pendant instead of a ring. Each year, the money raised will go towards funding a different ocean initiative in its entirety. The first goal is to raise $5 million for two 1,000-meter, dual-classed submersibles built by Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER). This will require 200,000 people to mery™ the ocean.
What can people do to help conserve the ocean?
There are loads of actions we can all take on a daily basis to help protect our seas. One of the biggest things for us to be conscious of is our use of plastic, especially of the single-use variety. Eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our world oceans annually, and if we continue with business as usual, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Plastic is made to last forever, but 33 percent of it is used once and then discarded. Eighty-five percent of the world’s plastic is not even recycled. It is critical that we start paying attention to what we consume and how we dispose of it.
Reject single-use plastics whenever possible, avoid plastic bags, dispose of and recycle your garbage properly, buy a reusable coffee mug, and opt for your own straw and utensils in place of the disposable ones. Also, avoid any products that contain plastic microbeads, such as face washes and toothpaste, as there is currently no way to filter them out of our waterways.
Other than using fewer plastics, consider participating in a beach clean-up, make sustainable seafood choices, don’t purchase items that exploit marine life, travel the ocean responsibly, support organizations working to protect the ocean, and make an effort to reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption.
You launched the campaign in hopes of helping with ocean conservation – where will the money go to and how will it benefit the ocean?
Blue Ring just launched on June 8th, World Ocean Day, and I have some robust goals for my first year. As I mentioned, my first mission is to raise $5 million to build two submarines, but you might be wondering why the subs are so important. Consider something. When we think of the ocean, the images that usually come to mind first are those of sunlit reefs filled with healthy corals and plentiful, vibrant fishes swimming in brilliantly blue, tropical waters. Ecosystems like this actually make up less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface and under 2 percent of the ocean floor.
The vast majority of the ocean exists beneath the depths where sunlight penetrates. It is unknown to us, and what we do not know we cannot understand, and are even less likely to protect. The creation and operation of two submarines capable of descending to 1,000 meters will shed light on the endless mysteries and discoveries hidden in the darkest recesses of our alien deep sea. The sustained health of our world and waters and the future of every living being on planet Ocean depends on our ability to understand the processes occurring in and creatures inhabiting the deep sea.
These submersibles will exist for the sole purpose of ocean exploration and care with no ulterior motives or financial incentives driving their use. They will be symbols of hope, dedicated to exploring and documenting places never before witnessed, as well as bringing to the public’s attention news and evidence of human impacts. Every year, Blue Ring will fund a different ocean conservation initiative. There are so many innovative and inspirational projects out there, but many of them are in serious need of funding, and I aim to change that.
Visit www.bluering.blue for more information.