The ocean covers 71% of our planet’s surface. A healthy ocean means a healthy planet, and protecting the health and biodiversity of our waters is a vital part of addressing the climate crisis. This year, World Ocean Day is rallying support for 30x30, a pledge to protect at least 30% of our planet’s land, waters, and ocean by the year 2030. As of today, only 17% of land and 8% of the ocean is protected.
The ocean has also long been a source of inspiration for creativity. “For as long as I can remember, the ocean has always fascinated me,” shares photographer Matthieu Walch. Growing up on Reunion Island, the ocean was a big part of his childhood, and he spent his days surfing, diving, and later free diving.
“What got me into underwater photography at the beginning was that I wanted to take back visual memories from my dives,” shares Matt. His time in the water has given him a deeper understanding and awareness of the delicate nature of the ocean: “When you get so obsessed with the underwater world, you can’t help but feel how fragile these ecosystems are, and you naturally want to protect them.”
Photographer Christopher Johnson found new appreciation for the ocean when he relocated to Hawaii 15 years ago. “I began exploring the coastlines in search of unique lava rock formations that meet the ocean. With a slow shutter I can accent how the water plays through cracks in rocks or how it dances with the seaweed of the outlying tide pools,” he explains. “This took my appreciation for the ocean to a new level.”
Both Chris and Matt believe that photography can be a driving force for change that can help spread awareness about ocean conservation. “Beautiful images can help portray the beauty and appreciation of the ocean and plant a deep seed within people to want to protect it. With the amount of social media sites, photography can be used as an amazing vehicle to help conservation,” says Chris.
Matt currently donates between 30-100% of the proceeds from the sale of his art to support programs dedicated to ocean conservation: “While we all can do something on our individual levels, the way I chose to support ocean conservation efforts is through funding meaningful programs with my sales.”
“When artists create work about an issue they care about, like the ocean, it immerses new crowds of curious people who can get invested, take real action and help protect our planet,” says Kate Sutter, Community Engagement Lead for World Ocean Day. “I browse the pages of Behance to get inspired by all the mind-blowing ways that artists can use their skills to stand up for the ocean.”
Sign up to help protect at least 30% of lands, waters and ocean by 2030 and see what World Ocean Day events are happening near you.
See more projects inspired by the ocean on Behance.