Octonauts and the Other World

Right now my son is really into the Octonauts. If you don’t have children you might not be familiar with the show, but I’m comfortable in saying it might be one of the best cartoons ever made for kids.  In the episode a team of animals in their underwater vessel help various sea creatures in the ocean and tell you interest facts about the featured creature for each episode.

I’ve always been fond of documentaries on ocean especially the deep sea ones with bio-luminescence. But it struck me as I watching an episode with my son last night that the ocean really is like an alien world. It’s not that we don’t have an impact on it, but for the most part other than the occasional visit, it’s simply a world in which we can’t exist in. It is a world that has those at the top of the food chain, and those at the bottom. It has death, pain, peace, flourishing, competition, love, etc. It is extremely diverse, and there is much intelligence to be found. It is every bit as vivacious as surface based life. As I watch and think about that world, I couldn’t help but think how there is nothing to judge. It is, and while things live and die, there is no question about about morality, deities, or oppression. It just is, and it’s beautiful. While I do not believe any single creature intends to live sustainably, the world in the oceans is as sustainable as it can be.  Something we’ve yet to figure out. We as a species have flourished perhaps more than any other species, but at what cost?

When I think about how our actions have impacted this other world, how we’ve carelessly thrown trash into it and how climate change is influencing it, it seems more egregious than many of our other environmental crimes. In fact it seems that because we thought it was this other world with a massive amount of water we have reasoned that we could do anything we wanted to it, thinking that our activities could never have a great impact on anything so vast. This has of course turned out to be untrue. It is not our confession booth, a place to take all our sins away and absolve of us our hurt on the environment, but we have treated as such.

I’d like to believe the maker of the Octonauts just has such a passion for the ocean and just wanted to spread that appreciation to others. I think it does a great job of that. I get why people dedicate their lives to the study and preservation of these amazing ecosystems.  We may never get off this planet and meet alien civilizations. The Ocean might be the best “alien” world we can visit. I hope we can keep it that way. It was here before us, and I hope that it will also be here long after us.

5 thoughts on “Octonauts and the Other World

  1. rautakyy

    I love the Octonauts. I do not have kids, but I have watched this show, that airs here on early sunday mornings on our national broadcasting company YLE. The turnip characters are a hoot and altough somewhat absurd, even a bit psychedelic and surreal, but uniquely innovative and totally adorable.

    The oceans cover most of the planet. They provide sustenance to great many people. They are also currently being exploited like everything else (not the least most humans) on the planet to feed the greed of the very few extremely rich people. They are being polluted as a dumping ground to all the garbage we can possibly produce. They are the real lungs of the planet as plancton produces most of the oxygen we breathe. If the oceans get too polluted for the plancton, or if we disturb the balance of nature there too much, the might not be able to breathe any more. But who cares, as long as some of us get our consumer products and some people have more zeroes (money they do not need or even use for anything) on their bank accounts as a compensation for destroying the fragile life on the one planet we know has any? The important thing is, that these very insecure few, who get to be the lucky ones, will have satisfied their inner emptiness by gathering riches to compensate for their lack of security. Their interrests must be protected, because otherwise the middle classes, or people identifying as a middle class might lose their conservative traditional lifestyle, that they have had for thousands of years wich involves the occasional flight trip and a private car (or several) to entertain themselves by driving around for no particular reason, exept to feel free, because their jobs are crappy and their bosses make them feel entrapped, or something. Oh, I know, I should never try sarcasm again…

    One of my all time favourite sci-fi novels is from David Brin is the Startide Rising, in wich an exploration ship manned by humans and dolphins leads an extremely perillous adventure on an alien planet covered with oceans. It is a nice description and speculation on the plurality of intelligence, but the way we are going at the moment does not give me much hope, that the story will ever become real. We sometimes may ask of there is intelligent life in space, on some other planet. I have often wondered – more often so, as years go by – wether if there is anything to be called intelligent life on this one planet we inhabit. It certainly does not look like that if we look at how the mankind is conducting itself. Most ridiculous superstitions reign most of human population, the amount of hatred resluting from fear, resulting from ignorance is staggering. Most of us have no clue as to how to evaluate what is virtuous, or even beneficial or what is harmfull or down right evil. We all know, that co-operation brings out the best results in any effort, yet our cultures are all about competition. Nasty competetiveness is taught as a virtue to kids, just like mindbogging guillibility, for them to fit in the competetive and gullible human society. If a truly intelligent life form from a nother world were ever to observe us as a species, I have doubts it could make the distinction from a nasty virus to call us “sapient”. Humans use tools, but so do ants. Does that make them intelligent? At least they do not destroy every environment where they settle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Rautakyy, I agree with you that there are many reasons why we may never see life on other planets, because it seems like we are too in our own way down here. I guess that was part of my impetus for this post is that there seems nothing uniquely special about us and that observing the life in the ocean is as much a world worthy of existing as the one that we dominate on land.

      And yes the impact we are having on the oceans is far more than I think many people imagine.


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