by Valerie Perini

Recently I was lucky enough to become familiar with the Blue Marbles Project. The best part was I did not read about it online or hear about it on a podcast, I got to witness the passing of a blue marble, first hand. This being said, I am not implying that the passing of a blue marble is a rare occurrence (in fact I think/hope it will become a common assurance among those who care about eh planet), I mention that I got to witness it first hand because I think it was the first-hand nature that instilled in me what a meaningful gesture the act of passing a blue marble can be.

My experience with the blue marble was at the end of COSA (Coastal Ocean Science Academy), which is a summer marine science program for particularly ocean-minded high schoolers. These high schoolers love marine science some so much that this was their 4th year at COSA. I am sure we all can remember how precious and fleeting summer vacation always felt, so the fact that these students devote a precious two weeks of their vacation to marine science really exemplifies their devotion.

At the end of the program, we have Family Night where parents have a chance to come and see what their budding marine scientists have been working on for the past two weeks. After the presentations concluded and we were recognizing all the students’ achievements, one of the COSA instructors called several 3rd and 4th year COSA students up to the front. In his hand he had three blue marbles.

“These are not just ordinary marbles,” he said. “When you hold a blue marble at arms length, it resembles the earth as viewed from space, reminding us of our essential role in protecting and conserving our beautiful fragile planet.” He held the marble at arms length for a moment to let his words sink in, then addressed the students again.

“You have shown passion for ocean science and conservation, and I know that wherever your future endeavors may lead, you will continue to devote yourselves to spreading the word about our role in protecting and conserving our planet. I present these marbles to you as a symbol of gratitude and to remind you that your actions matter, no matter how insignificant they may seem.”

Everyone applauded, and I even got a little misty-eyed. I was so touched by the fact that a simple marble could hold so much meaning and emotion, and also by the look of pride on the teacher, students and parents’ faces.

Since I was unfamiliar with the project, I did in fact do some internet research afterwards, to find out more about it. It seems that passing blue marbles is becoming somewhat of a thing. To find out more check out the official website of The Blue Marbles project. www.bluemarbles.org.

And, most importantly, if you know someone whose devotion to the planet deserves recognition, pass them a blue marble!

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