Environment | Campaign for Cleaner Oceans

US Fish and Wildlife Services Headquarters

Irish Musician and songwriter Conor O’Malley is back with his latest single ‘Oceans’ (see below), beginning a campaign for cleaning up plastics in the global ocean, and has written a few words for Wide Orbits. 

“What is the purpose of life?…To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the creator of the Universe”
― Kurt Vonnegut

I recently came across this quote by Kurt Vonnegut, who had survived and witnessed the terrible Bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II. He had spent his life writing in response to the great loss and destruction he had witnessed throughout the War in Germany. I am not a religious person but I began to think about what could be meant by the Creator here.

I remember diving in the Red Sea, Egypt a few years ago. It was my first time diving in such a beautiful ocean and one of those experiences of what it means to be alive. The feeling you get the first time you plunge into the depths of that clear turquoise blue; imagine what the likes of the great Cousteau must have felt dedicating their lives to deep sea exploration. This was another world, a tropical paradise, a privilege that we are not use to witnessing on dry land.

I took a boat from Sharm-El-Sheikh with friends, to the exotic splendour of The RasMohammed National Reserve at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. That afternoon we dived into the deep abyss and watched the Coral reef teeming with an abundance of life.

As we descended the Coral we saw carousels of clown fish, gormless puffer fish, sinister looking eels, mysterious angelfish, manta rays on sentry duty overhead, crabs scuttling beneath on the sands like some weird remote control toys. Some of the most vivid colours you will ever see can be witnessed in this aquatic world. It reminds you of some ancient and primitive past that we are connected to, but have lost contact with.

This was the Inspiration behind the music of ‘Oceans’. With the mysterious nature of the deep, the song is also essentially about the personal loss we inevitably have to experience and fathom at different stages of our lives. How we cope with this and our resolve in dealing with losing the ones we love, may be perhaps the true measure of the human spirit.

As we are now facing the current crisis of plastics in our oceans this message I hope can be carried beyond the purely personal. Such a resource as the oceans is so important to our connectedness to everything in our living world and should be protected at all costs.

The video of this song comes from New York Environmental Agency Parley for the Oceans. They believe that plastic is a design failure, which can only be solved by reinventing the material itself. They refer to the AIR strategy: AVOID Plastic Wherever Possible INTERCEPT Plastic Waste REDESIGN The material itselfThey are now promoting the idea of using up-cycled marine plastic waste instead and are working in collaboration with major brands, to reduce overall plastic use.

They propose ending ocean plastic pollution in the long run only if we can invent smarter materials, redesigning the use of plastics and synchronizing the economic system with the ecosystem of nature. Could there also be a possibility to use our abilities to create awareness around these issues as Writers, Artists, Musicians… Maybe this is what Kurt Vonnegut meant when he said we should be the eyes and ears of the creator. If nature is our creator, can using art as a message to bring consciousness around what we as individuals are capable of protecting. By creating music or art that carries some momentum in people’s minds it might continue to create more grassroots movements and people power to eventually go on to influence government legislation.