The influence that Star Trek has had on our society, from cell phones to the name of the first space shuttle orbiter to providing hope of a better future to victims of ethnic cleansing, has been well documented. However, what does Star Trek have to do with saving the oceans? As it turns out, quite a lot, and I’m not just talking about the plot of Star Trek IV (in which Kirk and company have to go back in time to rescue a whale whose species was driven extinct by human exploitation).
Star Trek is fundamentally about curiosity, exploration, and respect for all forms of life. This can be found from the Enterprise’s stated mission (“to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before*) to the Vulcan code of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and you’d be hard-pressed to find a popular television series that portrays scientists better. The ideals of Star Trek have quite a bit to do with saving the oceans, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
I recently had the honor of meeting Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Rod loves the ocean, and in addition to working as a producer for science fiction movies and TV shows, he runs the Roddenberry Dive Team. When he founded RDT in 2009, Rod said:
“I have found the world beneath the sea to be one of the most exotic and magical places on Earth. For me, diving is a unique experience that quenches my thirst for adventure and discovery. To take a page out of Star Trek, I love exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life in our oceans.”
In addition to organizing SCUBA trips and “beaming down” into the oceans, the Roddenberry Dive Team works with scientists and conservationists to educate their members about the oceans and to organize events like underwater and coastal cleanups. You can help by joining the Roddenberry Dive Team, participating in discussions on their online forums, or purchasing RDT gear. You can also follow them on Twitter.
Want to help save the oceans? Make it so!
*Savvy Trek nerds will note that this is the mission from “The Next Generation”. The original series said “where no MAN has gone before”.