I was watching a TED talk last night, one of ten excellent talks in a series called Ocean Wonders, to which I was exposed through the magic of Twitter. The talk was by Mike deGruy, an underwater cameraman, and entitled Hooked by an octopus. Mike recalled being enthralled by an octopus he picked up as a child, at the manner in which it manifested it’s tentacles and shifted, shaped and recoloured its body, before he placed it back down and within a moment it was vanished, camouflaged, and there was the hook. Each one of the talks in this series have been fascinating. They have been as good as any David Attenborough production (which I don’t say lightly) and always with a poignant and heart-felt message.
The message in Mike’s talk was founded upon two experiences he had whilst filming corals. The first example is a return to film at a once ‘gorgeous’ location. Here, since his previous visit some five years prior, the bay had turned into ‘pea soup’, and the coral dead due to excessive nutrient, pesticide and fine sediment input deposited from a golf course and a contruction site. By contrast, the second example is taken from a once ‘pretty trashed bay’. Here the construction site and golf course are managed responsibly to control and reduce the impact upon the bay, to the point whereby the bay is now ‘gorgeous’ again. This was not achieved by some major public outcry, or through any hard-hitting national legislature, but by the action of the local community, which enacted this change and gave nature a chance to repair. The story is beautifully summed up by the use of a quote from Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978), an American cultural anthropologist, that:
“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”