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SIMPLY JESSICA: Marine biologist talks about the importance of water

As I watch Richard Murphy surf in the ocean near his home, it is hard to believe that he has been surfing for more than 33 years. He gives me a big hug along with a glowing smile then he laughs as he talks about the magic he sees in water.

“If there is magic to be found on this planet, it is in water,” Murphy said, “We are a jewel in space, a water planet.”

Murphy is a marine biologist, and the director of Ambassadors of the Environment as well as director of science and education at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara.

He believes we are unique in our solar system and that we are gifted with abundant liquid water.

“Water is two elements drawn to each other in uneven proportions,” Murphy said. “It allows almost magical transformations. It can soar as vapor, traveling great distances, then condenses as rain or crystallize, freezing entire continents.”

Richard Murphy is the director of Ambassadors of the Environment as well as director of science and education at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara. (Courtesy photo)
Richard Murphy is the director of Ambassadors of the Environment as well as director of science and education at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara. (Courtesy photo)

Murphy shares with me his desire to influence younger generations to see that two-thirds of the planet’s surface is water. He calls it the birthplace of life.

“Water is essential to life itself,” Murphy added. “Without water, the fabric of life breaks apart. Only one-10th of one percent is available as drinking water. Water is sacred and something we all take for granted. It is unique among molecules. It is the perfect medium of life.”

I am fascinated by the information that Murphy is sharing with me about water. It never occurred to me how much water is part of the human experience on Earth.

“Water resists freezing or vaporizing,” he said. “Influenced by this liquid world, life takes on strange forms, resembling things we think we know and things unimaginable.”

How can water mean so much to us as humans?

“Water urges life into a carnival of forms,” Murphy said. “Every molecule of life is primal matter recycled over and over since the beginning of time. Every atom has taken a different form, as a dinosaur, a redwood tree, possibly a coral or a fish expanding the diversity of life, building our common heritage in ancient genes. Life is water alive, contained only by delicate boundaries.”

Be yourself! I’m Simply Jessica JcAden. You can reach me at jess.gosnell@gmail.com.