Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to conduct speaking engagements with many ocean-conservation minded institutions regarding great white sharks, shark conservation, and shark ecotourism. Sometimes it entails a screening of my white shark documentary, Island of the Great White Shark, other times it's sharks in general and their related issues. Whether speaking to adults or children, there is always a fascination with sharks but also some progress is made in making people aware of what is threatening these important predators.
Tonight, I have been invited to speak to the Los Angeles Adventurers Club, an interesting group that wants to know what it is like getting up close with the magnificent great white shark. Of course, I will have some interesting stories to tell but I hope they won't be disappointed when I begin to deflate the monster image of this animal and also turn their attention away from the adventure thrill-seeking persona of what I do to the more important work of research and conservation.
Being an adventurer today has certainly changed from the "climb it because it's there" mentality of the past. It's an evolution taking place, and the idea of breaking records or simply challenging yourself in some extreme fashion without deriving some environmental or ecological benefit is slowly vanishing. Today, if we travel deep into the ocean or high into the atmosphere, it should be done to learn more about this amazing planet we live on. The devil-may-care adventurer has given way to the wide-eyed explorer who is searching for knowledge to benefit the planet and, in so doing, ourselves.
Whether we like or not, the fate of the oceans and the earth have come to that. We owe it to ourselves, our children, and the many generations to come.