Oceans & the business of that breath you just took.

Yesterday, was World Ocean Day. It’s a time to reflect on the state and health of our Ocean globally.

This past week there have been several events including talks in NYC at the Explorers Club and the United Nations, premiers of films illuminating the treachery and inhumanity of illegal fishing slavery, and events of awareness around the globe.

The theme was consistent: our Ocean’s are dying.
I think it’s important to note, every other breath you take, you owe to the Ocean.
We — …I — are killing it. Our habits need to change. And we, together, have to start executing on Mother Ocean’s recovery. Now. 2019.

I want to preface all of this with optimism. We CAN do something about this. Humanity has made incredible technological strides this decade which can be directly applied and capitalized on to fix these issues on a worldwide Oceanic level:

1. Cleanup of the single-use plastic in the Ocean.
1.a. Reduction of single-use plastic globally from this point on.
2. Sea level rise and the impacts on coastal environments and cities.
2.a. Reducing arctic ice melting (directly related to the increase of average Earth surface temperature).
3. Average Ocean temperature increase caused by the absorption of heat on Earth.
3.a. Ocean hypoxia (de-oxygenation) and effects it’s having on Ocean life ecosystems.
3.b. Abnormally low phytoplankton levels.
4. Lack of understanding of the subsea landscape and environment.
5. Unprecedented coral destruction and bleaching (environments needed for fisheries to flourish)
6. Overfishing and depletion of several Ocean species.
6.a. Illegal activities (including slavery) associated with fishing.
7. So many more.

I want to reiterate — not only are there solutions, but there are solutions that can make money. Serious money… due to to the global nature and scale required to fix these problems.

This past week I attended and participated in discussions on the tribulations the Ocean is currently going through. The opaque legal, physical, and commercial landscape of international waters were discussed at length and certainly cloud immediately obvious solutions. This explains the lack of action taken on a global commercial level, but also shows the barriers that protect and give a competitive advantage to people willing to take the needed steps.

I heard stories of people doing incredible work in their local international communities, was shown images that could move and may-I-dare-say inspire even a Mr. Donald Trump:

Paul Nicklen

…I talked to leading scientists and deep Ocean explorers doing incredibly important work to understand the current status quo of our Ocean’s. However — something was blatantly missing.

There was a lack of people, discussion, and ideation around solutions able to work on a global level. I’m talking about massive, ambitious, well-funded, highly-scalable solutions able to start healing the Ocean, fix the problems everyone was complaining about, and do so in a way that made financial sense.

While local initiatives and efforts are critically important, we need people willing to take radical steps and develop systems that can act at a massive global scale to begin to make a discernible dent in this humanitarian problem.

Thankfully — these types of global, high-impact companies DO exist today(!):
The Ocean Cleanup Project and Parley for the Oceans — both of which I’m an enormous supporter of — are tackling Ocean plastic cleanup and recycling at an unprecedented scale. You can start making a difference today as a normal consumer and buy Parley clothing from Adidas made of recycled Ocean plastic.
Planet Labs, BlackSky, Capella Space, Iceye are tackling Ocean surface intelligence in a measurable, scalable way giving insight into some of the largest physical asset mysteries we have yet to solve.
Saildrone is changing the way at-surface, and just-below surface (<10m ) data is collected at scale on the Ocean. This is critically important to understanding how our Ocean’s operate and change.

But we need many more of them.

Unfortunately, people don’t scale, especially across the vastness of the Ocean. So initiatives that require people (ie — anything involving manned ships or manned submarines) to execute these plans at a per device or local ops level will simply not cut it when you’re talking about systems that have to scale to something that makes up 72% of the Earth’s surface.

I co-founded Nautilus Labs in 2016 to build optimization tools for the commercial shipping space. These tools were not only needed commercially in the industry (and still are), but the implementation would render significant environmental improvements of the total energy required to move goods around the Earth. I’ve seen first hand how the operations of the commercial shipping industry works and how it could improve. That is just one small part of the broader problems/solutions riddling the Ocean.

I can see no other way to achieve this than with autonomous robotics and software — ironically enough Robert Downey Junior this week seems to also be on the same page about this with his announcement of the Footprint Coalition — which is amazing to see. I’m so ready for full-on Iron Man.

The point I’m trying to make is the need (and opportunity) for the tech industry to get involved. If we want to do things at a massive scale we need businesses who have solutions that can achieve massive scale, cost-effectively. This has primarily been where tech has prospered and I believe can continue to build some of the worlds largest businesses in the future. This is critically important for the human race and there are great businesses to be built in the process.

I feel particularly empowered to do something given my background and passion to fix this and build a large, highly-sustainable business in this space. I’m standing true to my word and announcing my next venture will be directly related to a problem I’ve listed above — solving a massive problem with the Ocean — at scale.

I had a friend look this over and their first comment was: “wow you are overusing the word scale”. My response was good. We certainly need it. Hopefully, the point is drilled home.

I want to meet others who see eye-to-eye on this point. Marine scientists, roboticists, software engineers, aeronautical engineers, entrepreneurs, operators, storytellers, content producers, and marine enthusiasts — please — reach out.

So, if you got this far — please assess what you can do. Not everyone is going to start a business. Not everyone is going to be able to completely change the way they live. Not everyone lives on or is directly associated with the Ocean. That’s completely ok. Small actions like being more conscious of where your seafood comes from, slowly weaning off of fossil fuel derived power or transportation, and buying products made of recycled Ocean plastic or no plastic at all are the best thing people can do right now. This is not the end all be all. But it’s a start that anyone could actually do instead of buying that extra beer while out with their friends.

If you are someone who can do something at an abnormally large level, and ready for the challenges associated: starting the next hopeful decacorn(+), or investing money in these businesses, I’d encourage you to dig deeper into the financial benefits unlocked by solving these problems. I can assure you after significant digging myself, it’s very much there. Reach out if you want to discuss further.

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Anthony DiMare

Anthony DiMare

Building Bedrock — CEO & Co-founder. Co-founder of Nautilus Labs.