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Written by Dr. Georgia Holly, Editor-in-Chief of seavoice.

'I place my hand in a pool of salt.

Some stays. Some seeps into my skin.

Everything goes exactly where it’s supposed to.’


Jonathan Mendoza

Osmosis Definition

1. movement of a solvent (such as water) through a semipermeable membrane (as of a living cell) into a solution of higher concentration that tends to equalize the concentrations of solute on the two sides of the membrane.

2. the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.

Hello, and welcome to seavoice.

My purpose is the sea. While this involves researching, sharing, and protecting, I would be lying if I portrayed my relationship with the sea as entirely altruistic. Having spent my life by the sea, it has become the guardian of my experiences; every life-changing moment I have encountered has occurred in or around an ocean. Living away from it, even for a brief period, evokes a sense of being stranded, shipwrecked - as if I have lost a vital part of myself. In the absence of its presence I am left yearning for the vastness and serenity it brings. It is during these times that I realize the profound impact the sea has on my well-being and sense of belonging. The sea is not merely a physical entity but an integral part of my identity. The truth is, the sea has both directed my actions, and provided the stage, but I am not the only actor.

The human experience of life, time, and space can all be connected by water. From our evolution out of the sea, to our ancestor’s first explorations off the continent of Africa, to the first moments held within the womb of our mothers. Today, water represents a key aspect of our identities as humans. Whether we live by bodies of water or not, we are all in some way connected to the sea - be it geographically, historically, emotionally, or through our professions and hobbies. Moreover, our shared ocean-umbilical not only anchors us to the ocean but pulls us towards each other. Collectively, populations have spread, fought, fished, and lived by bodies of water for thousands of years. Still today, the waters, rivers, and lakes which make up 71% of the earth provide us with half of our oxygen, the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity, and billions of people with their livelihoods, food, hydration, and hygiene.

“It’s estimated that 80 percent of the world’s population lives within sixty miles of the coastline of an ocean, lake, or river…Over half a billion people owe their livelihoods directly to water, and two-thirds of the global economy is derived from activities that involve water in some form…Approximately a billion people worldwide rely primarily on water-based sources for protein.”

Wallace J Nicholls

Blue Mind

Aquaphile or not, there is something very human in the need for water, both physiologically, and culturally. Our language is littered with water-centric sayings, such as ‘water under the bridge’ in English, ‘Maji hufuata mkondo’ (water follows current), in Swahili, or in Japanese, 水の流れと人の行末 (lit. ‘the flow of water and future/fate of people’ meaning, like the flow of water, the future of human beings is uncertain). We cannot present a human experience of the sea without painting a portrait of the richness and resilience of different cultures. Both sea and culture are tapestries woven by collective experiences, traditions, and beliefs, and it is through these tapestries that we can gain a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of humanity and the environment. Yet, if we were to take a snapshot of our current relationship with the sea, some would say, it’s complicated.

In the sea we see ourselves, but if we were to ask, what would the sea see in us?

From the sea's perspective, humanity may appear as both a marvel and a paradox. It has witnessed the rise of civilizations, the ebb and flow of cultures, and waves of remarkable achievements, but it has also observed the consequences of recent human actions, particularly in the context of climate change.

Climate change, an urgent global crisis, has brought both the sea and culture into sharp focus. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the loss of marine biodiversity are stark reminders of the consequences of overconsumption, and the wasteful and exploitative systems of capitalism. Once a source of abundance and sustenance, our bodies of water are now under threat, and the warning signs are loud and clear.

One of the most visible and immediate impacts of climate change is on coastal communities. The combination of rising sea levels, increased storm intensity, and coastal erosion force coastal communities and indigenous populations to face the harsh reality of displacement and relocation, severing deep-rooted connections to the ancestral lands, and disrupting social structures. Overfishing, ocean acidification, and land-grabbing from big-businesses isolates communities from fishing grounds, and limits livelihood production and safety. It is to these populations on the front-line of the climate crisis that we must look to for direction. In the Indigenous Peoples’ Water Declaration, mutual respect, equity, and sustainability are key elements of the human relationship with the sea.

‘We recognize and respect water as sacred and sustains all life. Our traditional knowledge, laws and ways of life teach us to be responsible in caring for this sacred gift that connects all life. Our relationship with our lands, territories, and water is the fundamental physical, cultural, and spiritual basis for existence. This relationship to our Mother Earth requires us to conserve our freshwaters and oceans for the survival of present and future generations.’

The Indigenous Peoples' Water Declaration,

Troubled Water

Anita Roddick

If we are to sustain a balanced relationship with our bodies of water, where osmosis between humans and the sea can create equilibrium, we may have hope. Maybe our Anthropocene will evolve into an Oceanocene, where the ocean’s needs, instead of ours, will take centre stage.

The sea, culture, and climate are not isolated entities but interconnected threads that have shaped our world. As I reflect upon the profound impact they have had on me, I am reminded how strange it is that we talk of connections between humanity and the natural world, when they are one in the same. Perhaps what makes us feel distinct is the power-dynamic created in the profound responsibility we bear to protect our planet. Instead, maybe we need to look beyond the surface and re-calibrate this relationship to truly have respect for our environment. Perhaps we need to remember that osmosis is necessary for equilibrium.

This exchange of personal and collective ocean experiences is at the core of SeaVoice. In a world where the impact of climate change on our oceans, rivers, and lakes is becoming increasingly evident, we aim to provide a beacon hope. Through thought-provoking articles, captivating stories, and insightful interviews, this digital platform will shed light on the intersection between culture and climate. At SeaVoice, we believe that understanding the complex dynamics between human culture and the environment is crucial for addressing the challenges we face today. By exploring the stories of those who have a deep connection to bodies of water, we gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of preserving and protecting these invaluable resources. Through the power of journalism, SeaVoice aims to foster a sense of urgency and collective responsibility. By amplifying the voices of individuals who are directly impacted by the ocean climate crisis, we hope to inspire action and drive positive change.

In Volume 01: Osmosis, you will find stories which highlight the deep and ancestral connections humans have with the sea, and the intricate linkages between nature and culture in the ocean. Our multi-national authors tell stories which span from scientists surfing on Celtic coasts, to advocates fighting shark fishing in the Indian Ocean, to guardians of Indigenous Tagbanua waters in the South China Sea. In this Volume, we learn from scientists, advocates, sportspeople and ecopoets, about the personal and global osmosis between people and the sea.

Here is a place for Sea Voices; for the stories behind the science, the evidence driving the activism, and people behind the projects that change the world. This is a place to share stories on sea, culture, and climate, and what that means to different people. As we present our findings as fables, we also present the justice, equity, and advocacy behind our work – we present the point. Welcome to seavoice, where we add a little more science to our story, and a little more story to our science.


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