I’ve been interested in identifying “things” for 30 years. Before that I was mainly interested in catching and eating “things”. In the decade of growing from boy to man I saw (and participated) in the plunder of the last remnants of virgin biomass around the bays, islands and beaches of my home patch – south east Queensland, Australia. It was fun, but gradually, catching and killing lost it’s appeal and was replaced by a thirst for understanding and knowing.
I was still a hunter but now I was a hunter of the telltale signs that pointed to Nature’s secret ceremonies. I became a scientist, a sailor and then a natural history film maker. I revelled in capturing the never-before-seen on film and then tape. Another decade passed and we were re-inventing ourselves as digital communicators in a fastening world. But one thing never changed – the gradual decline of the Natural world we revered. No matter how good the science, the communications tools or the massed evidence for another way… our destructive roller coaster careered on.
The next decade, like every decade before in the human story, will bring astonishing change. I would like to make a difference with the time I have left… but where to start. As I am in love with the sea I’ve chosen to start there – so I get to limit myself to just 70% of the planet.
After 4 long years my wife (Rachel Pears) and I are pleased to announce the launch of the Reef Finder. The Reef Finder is a tool for building Ocean Literacy: it’s a thousand-trick-pony that summarises a mountain of science and an ocean of ecology. Most importantly, it’s searchable and you can take it underwater. The Reef Finder’s unique Visual Decision Tool design make it possible to grapple with the full roar of reef biodiversity without the need for formal training (check out the introductory movies). Now you can truly Be Your Own Guide and I encourage you to guide others.
So take a child by the hand and show them the signs. Let them be hunters if they wish but imbue them with the respect that treads lightly on this Earth.