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Going Blue

In 2009, I stood on the overlook deck of The Marine Mammal Center, where I volunteer, and watched as one tiny sea lion body after the other was put in a plastic bin destined for necropsy. The Center does a necropsy on all the animals that die there, but there was no mystery this time. These yearlings were dying of starvation. A diver from the Monterey Bay, one of the richest and most prolific underwater feeding areas of the world, reported a sea of starving sea lions.

In that same year, scientists, who routinely count the births of sea lions in the Channel Islands off the coast of California, said there was a 70% mortality rate among newborns.

Watching the devastation amongst the sea lions, I was moved to delve deeper to find the reasons for the events I was witnessing. There is no official definitive answer among the experts. They say it is probably a combination of overfishing, pollution and global warming.

However, my journey of discovery brought me to a realization that is way more sobering than even that disturbing statement. And it goes far beyond sea lions. The scary truth, the elephant in our collective living room, is that the ocean is dying. And it is dying quickly. And once it is gone, so are we. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer, former Chief Scientist for NOAA, current National Geographic Explorer in residence, says there may be only 10 years left to save our ocean.

Most people don’t know that 50-60% of all the oxygen on the planet comes from the ocean. Most people don’t know that 90% of all the big fish are gone and that virtually every fishery in the world is in collapse or on the verge of collapse. Many people don’t even know that there are spinning gyres of garbage in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Few people realize that the ocean is choking to death on plastic.

Hearing all of this, the question inevitably comes up. Who is fixing this? The answer, until recently, was ‘no one’.

However, one woman, Mary Crowley, has stepped up and taken on the task of cleaning up the great Pacific garbage patch, by founding Project Kaisei. Kagi joins her in that effort.

We choose to support Project Kaisei, to educate others about the ocean, to inspire its conservation, to volunteer, to donate, and to take actions in our everyday lives to reverse the damage done to the oceans.

What does ecommerce have to do with the ocean? Although we are small, we are a global company. We have valued suppliers and customers from virtually everywhere on the planet. With global reach comes global responsibility. Or perhaps it is more true to say that global reach inspires global responsibility. From my window it looks like we all share one world and one ocean. It is an honor to do our small part to make it better.

Vicki Thomas
Chief Operating Officer, Kagi