First, we need to quickly pause to acknowledge our current state of affairs, in which many of us are homebound, for the foreseeable future, for collective health and safety (thank you to all those on the frontlines!). Know we will still be here offering you educational content that you will be able to put into practice now, and bookmark for later, when we are all back out exploring the world with our children. Stay well and be strong.
Hopefully by now you know the theme of Honest History Issue Seven: oceans! It’s a whole other world down there (literally, as in the Mariana trench, page 20), and helping your children explore its vast depths can infinitely impact the health of our planet. One of the easiest ways for you and your children to become defenders of the seas is knowledge. (For instance, do you know what a blue hole is? See page 33!) And, as with everything else, we believe exposure in word and image can impart crucial awareness and education. Our goal is to capture imagination, spark interest, and encourage action.
At Honest History, we spend much time, energy, and effort into choosing our themes for the magazine. The oceans contain 99% of the living space on our planet, generates half of the oxygen we breathe, and contains more than 97% of the world’s water—wild to think about, right? But that is also why it is imperative to teach the next generation about coastal and ocean ecosystems and its stewards (Like Jacques Cousteau and Rachel Carson, both highlighted in Issue Seven). Connecting the dots between how we live every day and its impact on the waters of our world will help children understand how society and environment interact. Why recycling is important. Why picking up litter matters. Why wearing reef-safe sunscreen has immediate impact. Small intentional actions count, they always have. And they add up.
There are many ways to expose children to our great oceans, its storied histories and infinite wonders. Yes, obviously, jumping into the Atlantic (or Pacific for that matter) is full immersion at its finest, but the reality is for many it may not be possible. But it is possible to bring aquatic exploration home in other ways. Finding Nemo, for one Finding Dory for another. Jazz up the abstract concepts if you are landlocked. Head to your local library and check out back issues of National Geographic Kids that discuss underwater environments. (The NG website is also full of ideas to bring the ocean to you.)
Plan a trip to the zoo to wave to the penguins, or if (lucky you!) you have a nearby aquarium, spend a day exploring. (Or take a peek at the Monterey Bay Aquarium coral reef cam.) Documentaries are also a fantastic way to hook kids on underwater wonders (we love BBC’s Blue Planet). Book options are endless, from picture books about the Pout-Pout Fish cleaning up the ocean to the Magic Treehouse series (Dolphins at Daybreak).
Ocean literacy is clearly important to us, and our hope is that this issue will help you understand ocean science and its history in an engaging, meaningful way. For all the land masses our Earth has, we only have one ocean. One! It’s literally the thing that connects us all. And we depend on its waters to sustain us. So let’s do our best to protect it. We hope you enjoy Issue Seven as much as we did during its creation. As always, we welcome thoughts, suggestions, and high-fives. There’s a postcard on the last page of the magazine for you to do just that...we can’t wait to hear from you!