Where we stand.
Who we are.
Over the last couple of months DEEPWAVE had to re-invent itself entirely and is now on the way to reaching a form in which it can carry out its tasks again.
One year ago, in the beginning of October 2016, Onno Groß was invited to Budapest, in order to speak at the European Youth Debating Competition. As it was a warm day he went for a walk after the conference, but never returned.
Not only his heart stopped beating, but that of DEEPWAVE did as well.
Onno had founded, created, developed, tweaked and shaped DEEPWAVE into the NGO that we have come to know over the years. He worked on the content that the organisation distributed, represented DEEPWAVE at public events and in political aspects, and always bringing people together, who worked for the ocean and were spread across the globe.
The deep dark silence spreads.
The first thought of anyone who as worked with him, be it a colleague, friend, acquaintance or companion: Without Onno there is no DEEPWAVE.
From the silence one thing became painfully clear: DEEPWAVE is missing.
There is a responsibility to continue the work that DEEPWAVE has done for the ocean. To continue what Onno had achieved for his beloved oceans.
Thus, we decided to continue DEEPWAVE as an association. We take on the responsibility, not knowing whether we will live up to the expectation. We, being his wife Anna Groß along with his two sons Heye and Tjark Groß, his closest companions.
With the political situation of the summer 2017 in mind Heye wrote the following in the invitation to the general meeting where he was voted first chairman:
“[…] One has the feeling that the world is breaking apart and no one can say what it will look like tomorrow.
However, it is exactly these times where it becomes even more vital to work together and to create a community. Thus, we have decided to ensure that Onno’s work, intentions and energy will not be left to ebb off, and instead will restart DEEPWAVE in a new way. When people come together to work on a common goal, the result is often larger than the sum of the individuals’.
Shortly after Onno’s death the largest marine protected area was declared in the Ross Sea. With DEEPWAVE we can bring people together, people who can ensure that the marine ecosystems have the same value as the citizens of Pensylvania.”
In this task, Onno’s vibrancy supports us. It is noticeable on a daily basis. It is present. As present as he once was. However, we cannot replace Onno.
Thus, we are developing a new direction for DEEPWAVE. Over the past couple of months we have met with, and talked to, various people in the different aspects of ocean protection and asked: What is the uniqueness of Onno’s work? What made him stand out? What do you miss about him the most?
The more questions we asked, the more we realised on how many aspects, on how many levels and in how many different ways Onno was involved in the topic. The only common answer we got was, that Onno was present and involved with every event involved with the oceans. Be this the sharkdays at Hagenbeck, association and international NGO-meetings, as well as vital and significant meetings in Brussels.
Exactly this uniqueness cannot be recreated. Not his sense of humour, his inexhaustible knowledge, his charisma, all the things that allowed him to talk about topics that no one wants to discuss as unsparingly as he did.
One of the particular traits of the organisation that we can continue with is that DEEPWAVE is more than just a blog and that the website is an important tool for information regarding the current state of affairs, offering a diverse and detailed overview of national and international ocean protection campaigns. However, all these changes and alterations, which are all new to us, will require some time, for which we ask for your patience and understanding that the website has been mostly inactive since October 2016.
A unique part of DEEPWAVE is that it uses fields such as culture, exhibitions, films, concerts, theatre and literature for ocean protection. Anyone who has ever been involved in a longer conversation with Onno will remember his cross-referencing and enthusiastic thinking, which he supported through his insatiable curiosity, unorthodox reading and unquestionable live experience. His unbiased and open approach, together with his joyfulness and empathy, be this for the smallest, 300 µm, protozoan, were unique.
Just as the ocean knows no bounds, so should thoughts and all its images be free from boundaries, cupboards and categories. We are linked to the ocean can as such carry a responsibility for it.
Following this train of thought we will develop the website as it is now into a platform in which we will aim to develop all the these aspects, as well as offering the opportunity of creating networks within the thematic, safe forums.
Along with providing information, which, until recently, provided all the vital facts about campaigns and developments in the world of ocean protection, we will also provide information about curated projects in the fields of art, film and music, literature and theatre.
The Platform is meant to allow the creation of unexpected connections, give rise to meeting likeminded people, provide an open space for creative thinking and show us unexpected pathways and insights, which will drive us to act. The search for information is meant to turn into effervescent enthusiasm, based on inspiration taken from justified resentment and outrage.
… Ideally, just like it would have in a conversation with Onno…
As a starting point we have begun to sift through and document Onno’s extensive archives, in order to make his texts, presentations, interviews and films, as well as his vast library, available in future.
In order to make all of this happen we are working closely with specialists, marine biologists, campaigners, NGOs, artists and programmers. It is our shared goal to create a tool with the aid of which people who want to help save the ocean can take the necessary information, as well as finding likeminded people to converse with. May this be international students discussing scientific findings and sharing their research experience or teachers looking for information on how to protect a small section of the beach with their class and who are working with the “Meeresfibel” from DEEPWAVE. Be it marine biologists looking for details on what is actually being done to help protect the oceans, or NGOs wanting to understand why some scientists have opinions opposing the trend. May it be artists, working on projects that related to the ocean and its endangerment, trying to engage the public and people who are otherwise untouched by ocean changes, or even politicians who remember Onno’s pugnacious appearance in important negotiations.
It is out aim to inspire people to take charge and help protect the ocean and our ”blue marble”.
And to bring people together.
With the words of a friend and marine biologist: “The ocean needs people to flow like water and transport things over long stretches.”
DEEPWAVE board, visual artist, illustrator of the “Meeresfibel – Unser Blauer Planet”
Chairman, BSc Nanosciences student
Vice chairman, fotography/film designer and founder of the maritime travel agency LaMar
Hamburg, 17. October 2017