BLYTHE, WABNITZ, PICKERING, BAIRD, NASH and BENNETT: Virtual reality may help us develop empathy for oceans and marine life

Jessica Blythe, Assistant Professor in Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Gary Pickering, Professor of Biological Sciences and Psychology at Brock; Julia Baird, Assistant Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Colette Wabnitz, Research Associate in the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries at University of British Columbia; Kirsty Nash, Research Fellow in Marine Ecology at University of Tasmania; and Nathan Bennett, Research Associate in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at University of British Columbia, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about the possibility of fostering empathy for the world’s oceans through virtual reality.

They write:

“Hundreds of kilometres from shore, and covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, the high seas are a world that few of us will ever see. After more than a year in the field, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Urbina concluded: “There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. Perhaps the wildest, and the least understood, are the world’s oceans.” 

Governed by no single country or authority, the high seas represent a literal and figurative final frontier. And in this age of information — where we can access livestreams from Mars, for example — we know shockingly little about the ocean. 

The race for oceanic resources

Despite being inaccessible to many, the world’s oceans are under an extraordinary set of pressures. Climate change and industrial overfishing remain the most critical threats — they undermine the oceans’ capacity to provide nutritious food and fulfilling livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.

At the same time, new players are turning towards the oceans as a source of economic growth. The ocean economy is projected to double from US$1.5 trillion in 2010 to US$3 trillion by 2030.” 

Continue reading the full article here.

Read more stories in: Brock Authors In The News Media, Faculty & staff, Mathematics and Science, Social Sciences
Tagged with: , , , , , , ,