In last December’s blog, I talked briefly about expanding SEA-Media’s horizons to include significant ecosystem connections with our waters — even when it meant paying attention to the (shudder) terrestrial parts of our environment 🙂
I’d like to expand on that idea a bit. The cultural bias we show toward the terrestrial world is very strong. And it’s understandable since most of our lives are spent in terrestrial environments: they’re home for us. SEA-Media’s mission, however, is “to introduce the public to the Northeast Pacific Marine ecosystems, using all forms of media, for the purpose of strengthening the bond between people and the single largest influence on their environment: the ocean.” This is like swimming upstream against that cultural bias.
Over the last 15 years, even before SEA-Media was founded, I tried numerous approaches to shining a brighter light on our local waters. My efforts were generally very well received in schools, community centers, science conferences, and even on PBS and 60 public access stations — as long as I pretty much gave away the content. My efforts to create financially sustainable projects about our PNW marine world were not successful.
But at the same time, some of my other efforts that had terrestrial components did thrive. The things that I did that were most financially successful were about things people can see in everyday life. For example, it was OK to address the pollution of Puget Sound if it connected with the daily life of our residents, such as showing how rain gardens can be designed and built in their yards and in their schools to help prevent pollution from ending up in Puget Sound. Another successful approach was to show sea creatures and their interrelationships, not just underwater, but on the beach at low tide where most people can see them first-hand. Another successful project was a fundraising video to help save a large chunk of local forest from development — something that has huge implications for Puget Sound.
Finally, a glimmer of light started growing inside my imagination. Our latest project, the interactive, electronic magazine, will leverage those lessons. We will use stunning multimedia to tell stories of our nearshore ecosystems, and to point out how the health of our waters is dependent on our actions on land. But we will do it by making sure that key characters in those stories are things that just about anyone can see around the Puget Sound area, things like old tree stumps, the giant boulders left by the glaciers, sand dollars, clams, amphibians, squirrels, owls, and one of the most important and abundant types of life in this region: trees.
Yes, I know this sounds a little like using puppets to teach children how to read and write. But I think that’s a good thing. SEA-Media will not devolve to marketing just fluff and sparkle, but we are learning to leverage what is important to people in order to paint the larger picture of how our waters are a key part of our everyday lives.
Please help us create these stories that will serve as bridges between the familiar terrestrial world and the more foreign, but vastly important marine world. If you are not yet subscribed to our newsletter, visit the Participate page and subscribe so you can be kept up to date on our progress. Or on that page you can also make a donation or suggest some media or a story idea. If you want to help as an author, content expert, or media provider, send me a note via our Contact page.
Thanks and Happy Merry and Merry Happy!