‘What is your favourite ocean read?’ was the question we asked Twitter earlier this year, back when sunlight was a real thing and we had holiday reading on our minds.
The response we received was amazing, with scientists, NGO workers, policymakers and all sorts of ocean-lovers joining in the conversation about their favourite ocean-related books. The recommendations spanned countless genres, included both classics and modern releases, and featured writers from across the globe. And thus, the idea of #oceanbookclub was born.
It was a tough task to whittle down such a long list, but after a series of conversations that made us feel like the panel of a prestigious literary award, we agreed on a final ten. We hope that the diversity of the final list reflects the multitude of ways that people connect to the ocean.
Life of Pi
A Fish Caught in Time
The Sound of Waves
The Old Man and the Sea
Ghosts of the Tsunami
Richard Lloyd Parry
The Summer Book
Watching for Dolphins
The book list sparked other conversations in our team too, about the equalising power of art. The beauty of this question was that everyone could get involved. Choices were not so much based on what information the books offered, but about the emotions that they elicited – awe, wonder, grief, fear, inspiration. We had all sorts of ocean experts reply to the question, but they replied not as experts but as humans – they replied with books that had made them feel.
Next year, as we further develop CoLAB experiments around the values-based approach, this is something that we will think about more. How can we harness this emotional connection among a broader range of audiences and use it for effective ocean conservation?