NOTE: This post is an entry to qualify for the Summit Series Shark Tag qualifications.
The biggest problem facing the oceans today is actually not pollution, over-fishing or off-shore drilling:
Most people are unaware that the ocean is the most critical component to supporting life on this planet. They certainly don’t realize that there is a 100-million ton garbage island made up of toxic plastics that are being actively consumed by marine life and passed up the food chain to our own dinner plates. To them the ocean is a beautiful getaway to retreat to once or twice a year. Pollution is at worst an eyesore to avoid stepping on as you pad barefoot on the beach.
If you ask anyone off the street what is the scariest thing they might expect to encounter in the ocean, the answer is almost certain to be sharks. But sharks pose no serious danger. You are 16 times more likely to get killed driving to the beach than being eaten in the water. And you are 3,000 times more likely to die from cancer caused by exposure to polluted water than being eaten.
What people don’t realize is that humanity is actually the sinister monster lurking in the depths. We need to spread awareness about the real monsters in the depths. Us.
Fortunately, I know a thing or two about creating viral awareness.
Worth1000.com, a company I founded in 2002, hosts daily “photoshop contests” where artists are invited to submit a creation based around a theme. The entries they create are amazing works of art and go viral instantly, being forwarded around the web through email, Facebook and social news sites.
I will create a series of open contests on Worth1000 to help spread awareness of the actual issues impacting the ocean. We’ll even provide free photo-editing software for artists without Photoshop (courtesy of Aviary.com, another company I founded).
These kinds of contests will be powerful enough to go viral and should help raise awareness to the public in a way that a traditional PSA cannot. A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words.
Supplemental Contest Examples to launch on Worth1000
Contest 1: Water World
Show an ordinary world with common scenarios replaced with ocean scenery to help viewers visualize the connected interests of the oceans and land.
Contest 2: Fish Swap
Help illustrate the connected nature of the land world to the ocean world by swapping out everyday items with sea life.
Contest 3: If Fish Ruled
What if Fish ruled the world and humans were lower on the food chain?
What kind of horrific mutations might exposure to pollution in the oceans cause? Let’s show the impact on well-known celebrities.