Ocean Mandalas

Ocean mandala (c)  white violet art

Ocean mandala (c) white violet art

Sometimes when I’m learning about whales and ocean science on the internet, I forget the art part. (You did realize this blog is a learning exercise?) Likewise when I’m in the art studio, the science parts can drift away. Mandalas are symbols that can bridge these realms of art and science.

Mandala (Sanskrit): Magic circle. Symbolic of the Self and of the Whole.
— Anon.

Ocean Health

I was delighted to discover a global image of how our seven seas are doing by a group that uses the mandala form to convey an overall view. The Ocean Health Index lists 10 goals for sea life and creates annual reports from measurements currently being collected.

The quality of this work is high and broader than many smaller overviews; it was first published in Nature, has Harvard lineage, and is sponsored by groups like National Geographic. I encourage you all to explore its well-designed website and check out the goals or countries of interest to you.

Human Goals/Ocean Goals

What was of interest to me is that half of the goals have more to do with how the oceans serve the needs of humans and half are more about how healthy the oceans are on their own terms.

Here are the 2014 scores (0 to 100) on how well oceans serve us in order from high to low with an average of 57.4:

82 Coastal Livelihood (Sustaining Jobs and coastal economies)
68 Artisanal Fishing (Ensuring food for local communities)
51 Food Provision (Harvesting seafood sustainably)
44 Tourism and Recreation (Attraction of coasts)
42 Natural Products (Harvesting non-food ocean resources)

Here are the scores for the ocean itself, again higher to lower, with an average of 75.6:

83 Biodiversity (Supporting Healthy marine ecosystems)
78 Clean Waters (Minimizing pollution)
76 Coastal Protection (Preserving habitats that safeguard shores)
74 Carbon Storage (Preserving habitats that absorb carbon)
67 Sense of Place (Protecting iconic species and special places)

I was reassured to see that the average for the oceans themselves is higher than for how the oceans serve us. Even if I’ve oversimplified a bit, it will help me relax as I respond to summer’s invitation to spend time sitting by my local ocean.

Blog Takes July Vacation


In fact, this blog will be going on vacation, as well, for the month of July. My faithful readers will get the next post on August 10th and may even get a ‘postcard’ from the blog in the meantime. Wishes for a refreshing July to you all.