#99 Jeremy McKane, CEO of OCN.ai
Jeremy McKane is an artist with a passion for the environment. His focus has been directed on Ocean issues for several years. He is an active Explorers Club Member and the CEO of OCN.ai, an autonomous network of marine robots that automate enforcement at sea.
Bigger Than Us Episode 99
This transcription has been lightly edited for readability.
Host Raj Daniels 01:55
So Jeremy, If you were asked to share something interesting about yourself, what would it be?
Jeremy McKane 02:03
I don’t know. I guess it depends on what you find interesting. I mean, I think it’s also funny because I get that question a lot, and what others might find interesting, my wife is not going to find it interesting at all. So it’s all a matter of perspective. I don’t know. I mean, I think something that I think is interesting about myself is I really over the last few years have enjoyed working with humpback whales in the wild. And for a number of years, and I’ve spent filming them, I continually go back because no one has ever documented the birth of a humpback whale. They’ve gotten close, but not a full birth. And so it’s something that I feel like you know, it’s a shame that with all the knowledge we have as humans that we don’t know more and so it’s one of the things that drives me out there to go continue to try and capture but and I’ve been in the water with, you know, 35, 36 humpbacks at once. And it’s just an amazing experience. And it gives you perspective on this planet of really and truly how small you are.
Host Raj Daniels 03:12
So that is interesting. My kids love watching these live shows on Disney, whales are one of their favorites. I have never been in and around whales. I’ve seen this photograph of a kayaker. I think it’s somewhere by Seattle. And I don’t know what kind of whale it is. But it’s a huge whale that just kind of swimming next to the kayaker. And it kind of freaks me out every time I see it.
Jeremy McKane 03:33
Yeah, try being on a surfboard. I mean, it’s so funny, because it’s like, I remember the first time it happened to me Actually, the first time it wasn’t on a surfboard, it was on a kayak. I was in Hawaii. And I just had this massive what looks like an island coming up, you know, it just thinks just right next to me. And I just want and then they disappeared. And that was the part that scared me the most because I was like, what if he’s going to do a breach and I’m right here? You know, you’re it’s amazing what happens inside your brain when you’re by yourself and you have no one to talk to, how easily you can freak yourself out.
But I will set your mind at ease in explaining that humpback whales and other whales, they’re very social creatures, actually, they have more spindle cells in their prefrontal cortex than we do. So they have a better understanding and dynamic of these social interactions within themselves, but possibly even you know, with us as well, but they consciously decide to get out of our way. They don’t want to harm us. It’s one of the only animals that I’ve ever been with that that you feel like you are. You’re connected to something, you know, probably in many ways, much greater than you are.
Host Raj Daniels 04:51
It sounds amazing. Now, how many times have you been around humpback whales?
Jeremy McKane 04:55
I’ve got collectively almost 1000 hours underwater. I mean, I kind of lost count. After a while, but it sits somewhere near 1000 hours underwater.
Host Raj Daniels 05:04
That’s another thing that bothers me quite a bit is being underwater. I’m happy to jump out of an airplane. But being underwater, you know, being in an environment where I can’t breathe has always been a little bit disturbing for me. I did some scuba training many, many years ago, but hadn’t been back, done some snorkeling a few years ago. It’s something I need to explore further.
Jeremy McKane 05:21
Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because like, you know, I started, I started diving, you know, scuba diving and those kinds of things. And I would say, it’s funny because I don’t actually scuba dive as much as I used to, I practice more free diving, which probably freaks you out even more. That’s where you take one breath of the surface, and you go down, and, you know, when I first started doing it, I could maybe do 20 feet and hold my breath for like, you know, a minute. But the longer you practice, the longer you can go, the deeper you can go. And there’s an old saying that scuba divers dive to look around, and for freedivers dive to look within. And a lot of that is because when you’re down there, you can hear more, you’re part of the environment, you get a better understanding for how things really operate in the oceans. But you know, I would say collectively, on the planet as a whole.
Host Raj Daniels 06:14
Well, maybe offline, you can give me some tips and pointers about overcoming some of these concerns I have.
Jeremy McKane 06:19
I would love to fact, I’d love to have you come out to Maui one of these days, I’ll show you firsthand.
Host Raj Daniels 06:24
Appreciate it. So Jeremy, can you give me an overview of Project Ocean?
Jeremy McKane 06:31
Yeah, sure. So this is a concept that really involves technology and a little bit of indigenous wisdom. And I say a little bit because I really just been inspired by some of the things that I’ve learned. I guess the best way to start would be to talk about the ancient practice of tapu. Or as the Fijian language, it’s referred to as tambu.
Tambu basically means taboo or forbidden. And it was a practice, you know, there’s lots of different types of taboos, right like this, you know, you shouldn’t walk around naked, that’s a tambu, right? But as it relates to–or maybe you could go naked, that’s your thing, but might some other people might say that’s very taboo. But as it relates to ocean conservation, some of these areas were created so that fishermen wouldn’t fish, there was a certain reverence that was attached to this. You pass through a tambu, a lot of times you have to take your hat off, or sunglasses or you couldn’t speak or there’s just a number of respect things. And sometimes tambus were created because maybe people died in that spot and it was something for people to memorialize.
Other times, it was the fact that the resources were running low. And the chief would often say this area is tambu. And no one goes in here, no one goes fishing. And so what they would find is that they would come back a year later, they would count the fish, and then the fish wasn’t necessarily where it needed to be, they come back the following year, and so on and so forth. Eventually, when there was enough that they couldn’t count anymore, then they would release the tambu and go fishing. So it was this interesting kind of balance. And we don’t really do that today, we create these marine protected areas, the sanctuaries, and we do amazing work. Scientists that are involved in these are doing phenomenal work, but they’re not necessarily in line with some of the ancient practices. And so I thought, well, what if we could somehow bridge that technology or bridge technology with some of those ancient practices?
So I sat down with probably some of the smartest people that I could find and said, you know, what if we created a network, where we could collaborate and share data? Just so it turns out, though, some of the data doesn’t really come the frequency that you would want, I mean, you can access all kinds of data about the ocean, but you might not get it for six months. So what we have is a lot of low resolution, low-frequency data. And if I correlate this to say, your bank account, and you’re spending money every single day, but you’ve never got a statement once every six months, it’d be really hard for you to make any kind of massive adjustments, because the frequency in which you’re getting your feedback data, is really not conducive to actually making hard, fast decisions that could maybe prevent you from bankruptcy in that case.
So this is kind of the state of the ocean, we don’t have high resolution, high-frequency data. And Lord Kelvin is famously quoted by saying that if we’re going to prove something, we must first measure it. So we want to improve the ocean. We want to improve the health but we also need to have proper measurement tools and collaboration tools. So what we strive to do is measure the life in the ocean. Is it conducive for life? For one that’s the first step? Are there contaminants or pollutants that are preventing life from taking place in these waters? Second to that if there is a conducive place for life and, and longevity, what kind of life is there? You know, is there tuna, is there groupers, sappers, sharks, whales? What is it? And then beyond that, what are those lives actually worth? You know, we know what a value of a tuna or a snapper a roofer is, right, because that’s the kind of thing that we would expect to buy at the market. But how many of the tunas are there? How many of the groupers are there? Well, we just don’t know.
And this is what brings us to this concept of the tragedy of the commons. We’re extracting life in the oceans at unprecedented rates, and how do we really know what’s left? Well, we don’t. So we set out to say, what if we could build some tools that could examine things? My first thought was, I don’t know. I mean, imagine if you know, we were snorkeling, and we could recognize fish. Could we do that? So we could train machine learning models to be able to recognize certain types of fish, and then to count them. So that’s one way, but that only works so far. Because we can only see what we can see probably zero to say, 20 feet. Beyond that, it gets a lot more difficult.
And here enters into this brave new world, very experimental, of environmental DNA, where we grab water samples, and we look for specific genomes of the types of fish that we’re looking for. So that’s one way that we’re being able to do it. And so what that does is it gives us kind of a baseline of what is actually there. And is it increasing, or is it decreasing? And so so that’s one side of what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it is just to better understand our oceans.
I like to look at it a lot like how we acquire data about Earth and weather systems, you don’t hear very people dying from tornadoes and hurricanes like you did in the early 1900s. And the reason for that is because we have a massive amount of data collection, we have machine learning algorithms that can proactively predict storm tracks. And people are getting out of the way. And it’s saving lives. So if we were to acquire the same amount of data or more about the oceans, which by the way, is the final frontier of human understanding, we know more about space, than we do our own oceans, then I think we could maybe you prevent some absolutely huge catastrophes from happening.
And, you know, we can mitigate some of the risks. So that’s really one of the major things and from a business standpoint, it makes a value. Because if all of a sudden, I have 100 million dollars worth of fish that are floating around in my waters, and we’ve been able to measure successfully and manage them successfully, then maybe if we protected it the way that we want to, we could have a billion dollars with fish in the next 15 years. But we would never know that if we didn’t start measuring appropriately. So that’s really the basis for this.
And I would say the final thing that we do is that we’ve also built an autonomous enforcement tool. So if Raj, you decide that you want to come fishing in our sanctuary, we’re gonna let you know pretty quick, you cannot fish there, because it’s a sanctuary. But if you decide that you’re going to be hard-headed, and you’re going to continue to fish, we’ll let you know that you’re under arrest. And the marine police or Navy or whoever the authority is in that particular country will soon approach you and you’re going to be ported. If at that time you decide you want to run, that’s probably the worst thing you could do, we will intercept you, we will get in front of the bow of your boat. And we will release a propulsion system basically as a prop power, but it’ll completely destroy your proposal system. And the only way for you to fix it is to dive down on mangled this horribly tangled weave of Kevlar cables that we’ve just wrapped around your props, or entangled into your jet propeller. So this gives the ability for the authorities to approach you, arrest you. And in some countries that we’re working with, they will sink your boat on the spot. So you don’t want to run from us.
Host Raj Daniels 14:01
So several questions. Start with the first one. How do you collect the data and feel free to get as technical as you need to, because I know the audience will appreciate it.
Jeremy McKane 14:11
Yeah, sure. So the first thing that we wanted to do is we wanted to grab like, what’s the cheapest way to get data? So I started looking at Raspberry Pi’s because they seem to be like, pretty accessible, they’re pretty inexpensive. And I kind of like the DIY kind of element to it. So we started, you know, saying, oh, what sensors or, over the counter available for the Raspberry Pi? Well, you can get temperature sensors and get pH sensors, you know, these things. The question becomes, are they scientifically valid? And these are some of the things that we’re continuing to kind of verify. And, and is one sensor equivalent to the next sensor? You know, these are some of the problems but, but what we can do is we can still get enough information to better understand more than what we do now, which is nothing.
Having a sensor in a place, regardless of how scientific it is, or isn’t doesn’t matter when you’re not doing anything at the present. You can only go up from there. So using platforms like that, I think is really cool. And then we’ve also started looking into, basically 3d printing these buoy systems that can be printed with algae, which is pretty cool. So we can provide the STL files, we can provide the ISO, for a particular type of buoy, depending on the type of configuration you have.
And the cool part about this is that, if you think of like a Bitcoin transaction, right? If you think about what is Bitcoin mining? Well, Bitcoin mining is essentially a game, it’s a computer game. And whoever can divide the fastest is the one that’s rewarded based on how much computing power that you put into a pool. I think this problem is kind of stupid, really, I think it’s because it’s such a huge waste of not only computing power but really human innovation. I mean, I think cryptocurrencies and the transactions, and what they represent themselves is actually pretty ingenious, but the way that we’ve got this thing, it’s like, oh, it’s a bit of a waste.
And so I thought, well, instead of having that waste, where we’re running these stupid algorithms, what have we collected data, and just like in Bitcoin mining, where you, where you contribute so much computing power to the pool is, you know, equivalent of how quickly you’re going to get paid back for finding the block, what if you were to collect data from the ocean and contribute to the pool of knowledge? And when this data is then paid for by a number of different agencies, academia, private sector, then you got paid based on the amount that you contributed to the pool. To me, this seems like a much more viable use for blockchain technology, then maybe some of the ways that we’re using it now. So that’s one way.
The other way is, we built our own systems that are capable of carrying your scientific sensors that you probably would would would see on an expedition. And so initially, I thought, well, it’d be really cool to take these things and send them out unmanned. And where I think this is a value is that whenever you have these kinds of missions that you’re trying to do, scientifically, through whatever University, there’s grants, there’s scientists, there’s people that need to be on a boat, there’s a boat, there’s fuel, there’s food that needs to be sent to these people, so they can not starve to death while they’re out at sea. There’s just a lot of expense. But what if we could put that sensor on an autonomous vessel that could move periodically, wherever you needed to study? And better yet, what if Harvard used it today, but tomorrow…your market, and…we would be using the same sensor not having to buy it three times, doing the same amount of work without having to go through. So it’s a lot like time-sharing on a satellite. So that’s one way we’re going to be collecting data.
And the other way, I think is just by observation. And we’re looking at also putting sensors on various boats. So as fishermen go out, and they work in these areas, then we’re collecting a number of different data sets for them. And then when it comes back into the visualization of this data, we’re working with a couple different companies to come up with ways to really visualize this in a 3d space. Because I feel like if you acquire data in a 3d plane, then you should be able to distribute it in a 3d plane. Because that’s that’s how we understand things.
As humans, our brains work in various spatial environments. It’s the same reason why you can listen to a podcast, it probably retains more, because as you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably looking around at things in a geospatial setting. And later on, you might be in the same exact geospatial setting. And you might remember these very things that I’m talking about right now. Whereas you might be in a zoom call staring at a 2d screen. And you might not remember the context, necessarily as much as you would, in this way. So we think it making the tools better for humans to really conceptualize and feel what’s happening is a better way to kind of mitigate potential threats. And so those are just some of the ways that we’re collecting data. And we’re all in constant exploration mode of different types of systems that we can do. Of course, there’s also tons of data that’s currently being collected by the ocean. There’s Global Fishing Watch, as an example, who provides a free API, there’s the Argos Float Network, and we’re tapping into all those systems.
Host Raj Daniels 19:39
So when you said time-sharing on a satellite is exactly what I was thinking about when you were speaking about the different organizations you’re talking to almost renting time on your buoy. Is that correct?
Jeremy McKane 19:49
Yeah, I mean, we’re like the Uber for scientific sensors basically, at that point.
Host Raj Daniels 19:54
And so you mentioned the blockchain model earlier, to my mind is kind of like crowdsourcing data. So are you collecting data yourself and also from other parties too? And you mentioned other organizations, but other individuals?
Jeremy McKane 20:08
Yeah. I mean, so like, if you decided that you wanted to, you have a house on the beach, and you want to just record some kind of data and contribute to the project, you could do that. And we could give you the tools to make that happened.
I think it’s really interesting because when I was in Fiji, one of the Chiefs had asked me to explain blockchain to him. And I was thinking to myself, well, how do you explain I don’t know if the guy had a computer or not. But let’s assume that he didn’t, like how do you explain blockchain to a guy that has no computer? So I said to him, I said, well, you know, we sit around the Kava circle, and we learn about each other. And then if I promised that I’m going to do something in the Kava, circle, and the whole village is here to hear me. But later, I come back and say, No, I never said that. I’m not going to do that. What would happen? And he’s like, well, if the whole village would say, no, I heard you say that. I said, Well, that’s blockchain. Basically, I say, I’m going to send a Bitcoin to somebody and then another machine kind of verifies it and confirms it, another one confirms it, when I get three confirmations, then the transaction is almost done. That means it gets confirmed at that point.
But then, by the time that I maybe use that Bitcoin, there are hundreds of thousands of machines globally that have confirmed that and written it into their ledger. I said that’s what we need to do with ocean data. You know, if the temperature is 22 degrees, and there’s five other buoys that are right around and say it’s also 22 degrees, well, then it must be 22 degrees. And this provides kind of some, for me—even before all this crypto nonsense happens where people are going crazy, blockchain always, to me was a symbol of truth, because that’s what happens.
…even before all this crypto nonsense happens where people are going crazy, blockchain always, to me was a symbol of truth…
You know, it’s like when we go meet somebody, and I met this guy named Raj, he’s got this podcast. He’s a nice guy. He seems cool. Hey, what do you think about oh, no, Raj is a good guy, oh, yeah, Raj is a good guy. So I’m only to deduce the fact that Raj is a good guy. And that’s how we operate as humans. And I think having something like this in a digital format, will really help us get to the next level when truly understanding what the ocean has in store for the next revolution. And I think we’re heading in towards we had the Industrial Revolution, we had the digital revolution. But we are on the cusp of a new blue revolution. And this blue economy I think is going to really be something amazing in the next 10 years.
Host Raj Daniels 22:31
Yeah, I agree. And consensus is one of the key pillars of blockchain and cryptocurrency so understand what you’re saying there. So Jeremy, I’m gonna switch gears here. You know, the crux of our conversation is the why behind what you do. You know, it’s obvious from your experience, you mentioned swimming with the whales and 1000 hours underwater experience. But why Project Ocean? Why now?
Jeremy McKane 22:54
Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s funny, because it’s like, everything has kind of come from art. It’s a great question. And thank you for phrasing it that way. Because, you know, what I have found is that, you know I’ve had art installations that have exhibited around the world. One of them was called Lucid, it was part of the Ocean Plastics Lab was part of a commitment to the G7 and paid for by the German ministry. And it was an installation where we would show just plastic trash stuff that I had filmed from around the world. And we use a neurofeedback headset. And when you were to clear your mind and not be distracted, we would basically measure the way that your brain was operating in real-time. And if you could be present, and you weren’t being distracted, and being constantly switching every five seconds, we would fluidly rate you on a score, if you hit 60% of our score, then we would reward you with the beautiful things in the ocean that need protecting.
As this thing traveled the world for three years, I got some amazing feedback from people and people saying, this is crazy. I didn’t realize this is a big deal, we should do something. And so I would get questions like, well, what can I do? What’s the one thing that I can do? And you know, I used to dread that question, because I didn’t really have a great way to answer that. And now I come back with well, I don’t know who you are. And I don’t know what your superpower is. But whatever you’re really good at. I think you need to focus that on this. And that’s a much better way of kind of pushing this. Well, I try to kind of retrospect, like look back at myself and like, well, what am I really doing here other than exacerbating this particular issue and putting salt in the wound? I realized that yeah, although it’s great to create awareness, about these issues about the ocean and what needs to be done. It’s more impactful to do something. But these things are intrinsically connected. You can’t have one without the other.
So I’m still very heavy in the art world. I still focus on ocean issues. But I created this project because I felt that it was an answer to what everyone was saying. Everyone kept saying, we really need to have a collaboration tool, we can share ocean data. Well, check that box. Cool. We got that. And then we were like, well, we can’t afford to, you know, enforce our waters because we don’t even have a Navy, we have one boat and we can’t afford gas. Okay, well, we figured out how to do it for a fraction of the cost. So check that box. And then, you know, we’re like, well, you know, we’re overfishing and you don’t even know what’s going to happen, or we can’t catch fish for our own locals. And, you know, we need to figure out, you know, what we have in our waters, okay, check that box.
So for me, it seemed like there was a vacuum of innovation in the ocean space. And there seemed to be like ingredients, right? Like going to the grocery store, telling yourself, I need to bake a cake. Well, you don’t bake a cake by talking about it, you go to the grocery store, and you get the ingredients. And in my case, the ingredients were some of the smartest people that I know, saying, hey, could you do this part? Hey, could do this part? And eventually, you leave the place with enough ingredients. Now you got to go do the work.
And we didn’t raise any money, we basically put resources together all of us, some of us wrote code. I spent time working on relationships, some of us built the actual hardware, to build the drones, book the software to autonomously do all these functions that we’re talking about today. And then at the end of the day, we ended up with actually a product that not only works, it was funded by blood, sweat, and tears, and now that we have potential clients on the horizon, we are in our seed round.
But I didn’t want to go through the seed process and say, well, here’s this idea that we have because I’m a strong believer that every one of your ideas is worth absolutely nothing. If my idea was worth something, then I had invented the iPhone years before it was ever there. But I never did anything about it. So therefore I didn’t do anything, I didn’t deserve it. I believe your execution is really where your value is. And so we wanted to execute before we could ever ask for investment dollars. But now we’re in that spot, and I’m really excited about it. Now, we’ve received a lot of really great responses. But I think that response is a direct response to your question of why now? Why now is because people probably more than any time in human history, realize the need for change. We have more humans on the planet than we’ve ever had. And we’re operating the same way status quo, just like we have for thousands and thousands of years.
I believe your execution is really where your value is.
And you know, if it’s not broke, you don’t fix it. But unfortunately, it’s broke. And we have to fix it. And we hope that this could potentially be part of the solution.
Host Raj Daniels 28:01
So, so far on this journey, what are some of the most valuable lessons that you’d say you’ve learned about yourself?
Jeremy McKane 28:07
Ah, I seem to be really good at getting people to get along. Which is odd. I get frustrated with people very easily because I feel like they can be very short-sighted. But instead of, you know, beating them up and saying, hey, stop doing this stupid thing. Generally, I’ve somehow stepped into this role of kind of like being the middleman and saying, hey, you know, this person really wants this. This person really wants this, you know, could we find a golden thread that unites us all? And let’s just focus on that.
I think that’s one of the reasons why Susie and I, we founded Ultramarine on Sir Richard Branson’s, Necker Island, that very reason we thought, there’s a lot of people here that have a lot of opposing views, but there are some united ideas that can link us all together. So let’s just all get on an island. And let’s lock ourselves in a room basically. And let’s see if we can solve some of the world’s greatest problems with the resources that we have.
Host Raj Daniels 29:10
So before I move on, I want to go back to that prop fallor for a moment. In my mind, I’m imagining, okay, an autonomous vehicle, a boat of some kind, and I’m imagining a harpoon or something like that coming out and wrapping up a prop. Can you tell me if I’m correct, or if I’m crazy?
Jeremy McKane 29:29
That actually sounds a lot cooler than the way that the XPS…yeah, I mean, imagine, imagine if you’re following a boat, and all of a sudden it started growing long hair, and there’s all of these threads that somehow go underneath your boat and just tangle the crap out of your props. That’s essentially what how this thing works. And we’re also looking at other ways to disable vessels at sea. Because you know, we’re not some random company. We’re actually working underneath the arm of a sovereign nation. So we have a little bit more liberty that we can operate under.
And the other thing is to is that this is a fully collaborative system. I think gone are the days where the country says, Jeremy, come on over here and help us with this project, and I come down there and plant a bunch of people that are not from there. I’m actually very much against that model. And I’m looking for ways to kind of include locals to train them, hire local, and, and operate locally. And I feel like, you know, once we all not only are educated on how these things work, and why we need to do them, but it’s more impactful that way. And, you know, when you get stopped by one of these things, it’s really more an extension of that local brand. And not just some guy from Texas that’s dropping these things everywhere. But we got to answer your question. It’s just it’s, you know, these strands of Kevlar and carbon fiber basically that, that go underneath the hull the boat and the props, basically suck them in. And if you have a jet boat, then it goes inside the intercrop.
Host Raj Daniels 31:09
Which sounds like a mess for the owner to clean up.
Jeremy McKane 31:12
Yeah. But you know, you know, you kind of you kind of get what you deserve, you shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and you shouldn’t have ran.
Host Raj Daniels 31:19
Absolutely. So Jeremy, it’s 2025. What does the future hold for Project Ocean?
Jeremy McKane 31:26
Yeah, I think we are looking at a number of really amazing things. I think right now, we’re really focused on what’s going to happen with the blue economy. And I think when you think of the blue economy now, or when you talk to a lot of people, they talk about the exploitation of the ocean, whereas we focus on the exploration of the ocean. And I think this is the UN decade of oceans, as you’re probably well aware. And come 2025 we hope to have a significant number of countries on board with what we’re doing. And I really hope that while we’re protecting it, we’re also learning a lot more, you know, I think that right now, we are in a very infantile kind of setting where we barely understand the ocean, what’s in the ocean, and how to coexist with it. What I’m hoping with using our technology, alongside scientists like Dr. Peter Girguis at Harvard University and others, we can really start to have a better sense of what we’ve been doing wrong for so long, and how we can mitigate those threats.
Host Raj Daniels 32:35
I appreciate you sharing that. And before I get to my last question, I was reading your website earlier today. And one of the paragraphs stood out to me says two out of every three breaths we take comes from the ocean. Can you expand on that, please?
Jeremy McKane 32:49
Sure. So there’s two things that kind of make that happen. There’s the bacteria known as Prochlorococcus. And then there’s little carbon-based life forms called coccolithophores. And so what’s really interesting about these little guys is that, you know, they feed on different things in the ocean, you know, take for example, whale poop. Whale poop feeds Prochlorococcus. And through photosynthesis, more than every second breath of air comes. And that’s what we’re using right now. So whether you live in Dallas, whether you live in Hawaii, whether you live in the middle of Siberia, you take that breath, you take another breath, and that second breath most likely is coming from the ocean. And this is an example of how we really take the ocean for granted. And when you ask, why am I doing this? Well, I don’t want us to think of each other—it’s fine that we have our own countries, it’s fine that we have our own cultures. Great, awesome. But when it comes to these particular issues, we need to realize that we’re one human family, we’re consuming the same resources. And we’re not in a country. We’re not in a town. We’re on Spaceship Earth. And our life support system is the ocean. And without the ocean, there is no life. I mean, it’s like you were talking about being afraid of not breathing underwater. I’m more afraid of not breathing on this planet. And I think that’s the reason why we need to fight like this. You know, as Dr. Sylvia Earle says, “we need to fight like our lives depend on it.” Well, because they do.
Host Raj Daniels 34:26
Jeremy, that leads beautifully into my last question, which is, if you could share some advice or words of wisdom with the audience, what would it be?
Jeremy McKane 34:36
I would say, you know, all of us, we like to point fingers, right? We like to say, man the Chinese, they’re just raping our oceans right now. We’d like to point at other countries and saying, well, this, they’ve done this, maybe even our neighbors. They’ve done this, they’ve done that. At our core, we have to realize as humans, we all have the same needs and desires, right? We want to make sure that our bellies are fed, we want to have shelter, we don’t want to have to worry about where money is coming from, we want to make sure that our children aren’t starving, that they can get an education. We put all of these things in perspective, and we realize that, yeah, your day is busy, you’ve got lots of things on your plate, you know, maybe your kids need to be fed the bath times coming up, you got to tuck them in bed, and then somehow find a way to work in the middle of all this stuff.
Sure, your life is busy. But as Ferris Bueller once said, “if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” What I ask everyone to do, just just take a moment, book, at least 30 minutes out of your day to stop and look around. And think about this. Sure the Chinese are sending massive fleets all over the world to just take tons of fish out of the ocean. But they also have a huge population. They don’t want their children hungry either. We all have the same basic needs. We need to figure out how to stop, look around, and try to figure out what that common thread is so that we can all get the things that we need. I mean, after all, that’s what negotiation is. Negotiation isn’t about getting what you want. Negotiation is about getting what each other needs. And I think we need to do more of that instead of pointing fingers.
We all have the same basic needs. We need to figure out how to stop, look around, and try to figure out what that common thread is so that we can all get the things that we need.
Host Raj Daniels 36:25
Love that idea. Stop pointing fingers. Everyone get involved together. Jeremy, this has been a great conversation. Is there something that I have not explored or haven’t asked you about that you’d like to share?
Jeremy McKane 36:37
Yeah, I would just like to share with the audience the fact that if they have some crazy idea and say, hey, look, you know what I have this cool technology that I think it’d be used for the ocean or I have a big pile of money that I want to fund somebody doing something cool for the ocean or hey, I just want to be more involved in ocean issues. I would encourage you to go to ultramarineocean.com. This is an event that I host and co-founded along with my co-founder Susy Mai on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, we meet every year where there’s a physical and a virtual component. And it might sound super exclusive. But our mission is to be probably one of the most inclusive groups on the planet when it comes to ocean, and to be able to syndicate what everyone’s doing so that every voice is heard. And this is a project that’s very near and dear to my heart. And I believe that it’s a project that can make real change for the oceans.
Before we go, I’m excited to share that we’ve launched the Bigger Than Us comic strip, The Adventures of Mira and Nexi.
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- #108 Gary Cocke, Director of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Dallas - October 23, 2020