“I believe a better understanding of how nature works can not only promote an appreciation for the value of our natural heritage but also help guide the next generation in living more sustainably on the planet.” ~ Dr. Richard Murphy
Dr. Richard “Murph” Murphy was tasked with the challenge to come up with a working sustainable travel dive resort model back when there were little to none. Murph’s understanding of coral reefs came in handy. The processes, relationships, and the reef community itself became a metaphor for what he had to do on land: Make sure that the Fiji Island Resort was run in such a way that it could truthfully bear the Cousteau name.
It’s Murph’s belief that “If we explain what’s going on in a reef by comparing it to a city, then people can very quickly appreciate the value and the work of different groups of creatures, and, I think, understand some of that bewildering complexity, because we learn by comparing things we do know to things we don’t know.”
Richard Murphy has a Ph.D. in marine ecology from the University of Southern California. He began working with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Jean-Michel Cousteau in 1968 and has been involved in projects and expeditions around the globe, including Papua New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, the Caribbean, Indonesia, the Mekong River, the Amazon, the Sea of Cortez, Australia and New Zealand. He has served as chief scientist, photographer, writer, educator and project director, and has created a number of marine education programs for young people in developed and developing countries. “Educate the public. Make sure that they’re as informed as possible, and they will take action in their own way, with encouragement from us.”
“guide the next generation in living more sustainably on the planet”
Drawing on over 40 years of exploring and studying a wide variety of marine eco-systems and cultures, Dr. Murphy states, “I believe a better understanding of how nature works can not only promote an appreciation for the value of our natural heritage but also help guide the next generation in living more sustainably on the planet.” The Ambassadors of the Environment program is the latest version of this educational endeavor. His book Coral Reefs: Cities Under the Sea offers a unique perspective on how a reef functions and what lessons coral reefs can bring to the development of sustainable communities. His latest publication is, Water Alive, a small gift book about our evolution and deep connections to water.
In addition to being an Ocean Author, Richard is the Director of Science and Education at the Ocean Futures Society and he believes that scuba divers must become sustainable divers and if the dive tourism community “doesn’t take action to protect coral reefs by showing them and talking about some of these issues and getting tourists to appreciate the value of reefs, then we’ve missed the most valuable opportunity we have.” Because “We in the dive community have an opportunity to educate our divers and make those connections between the beauty of the ocean environment they’ve just seen and their actions back home.”
Learn how to be an Ambassador of the Environment
To learn more about Dr. Richard Murphy and his experiences in sustainable marine tourism see his entire interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Dr. Richard Murphy. Discover more about becoming an ocean change-maker by learning more about the educational initiatives presented at the Ocean Futures Society or visit Murph’s Ambassadors of the Environment program and to see more about Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Fiji Island Resort. To support the Blue Ocean community and to review and order any of Jean-Michel’s books or films go to the store.
Another of our speakers discussing Dive tourism as a Tool for Conservation is Judi Lowe. What is an accountant/lawyer doing in the dive industry? Working on a PhD. in dive tourism, of course. Judi Lowe’s research takes ground-breaking coastal management models to new depths by including artisanal fishers into the mix. Her work is especially significant at third world dive destinations where conflicts erupt between dive operators and locals over limited yet essential resources. Judi makes it pretty clear that poverty and pristine reefs don’t mix, and dive tourism may hold a solution. Read her entire article at Ocean Profiles: Judi Lowe