April 12, 2016


An open letter to world, national, political, business, union, religious, media, educational, environmental, peace, NGO and philanthropic leaders.

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It’s a familiar refrain that water covers three-fourths of the planet and provides food, jobs, energy and oxygen and is a major driver of the Blue Economy. Indeed, it’s a fact that water is the source, matrix and sustenance of life.

But just as music and art, water also makes life worth living.

“That’s where I first discovered my love for music, through the motion of water. My imagination ran wild.”

~ Musician Pharrell Williams

“There is something about being in water and swimming which alters the writer’s mood, gets his thoughts going, as nothing else can.”

~ Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks

When we overlook, omit or undervalue water’s cognitive, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual benefits in our conversations, lectures, policies, reports, assessments and mission statements we are not only leaving out many of society’s major behavioral drivers, but also being dangerously incomplete. This regretful omission leads to further degradation of our waterways and oceans.

We ask you, the world’s thought leaders and problem solvers, in your future writing, research and public speaking to recognize water’s value beyond jobs, food, energy and oxygen to include creativity, awe, empathy, inspiration, peace, romance, play, solace, transcendence and happiness.

Many communities have lost access to healthy waterways through processes that have historically boosted the economy but undermined quality of life and well-being. In many of those places, water is now being brought back to life along with the vitality of the cities and towns it runs through. This trend will continue to spread around the world if we describe the true value of water in clear terms supported by an expanded scientific understand of the benefits of water.

Let’s grow the Blue Movement in this golden age of brain research to include neuroscientists, psychologists, therapists, life coaches and mental health experts who are applying the ancient idea that water is medicine in new and effective ways.

It’s time to recognize that our rivers, lakes, wetlands and oceans are good for our brains and bodies.

It’s time to recognize that the future of water is not only economic and ecological – it’s emotional.


Wallace J. Nichols, PhD

Nichols is a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and author of the national bestselling book, Blue Mind. The 6th Annual Blue Mind Summit will be held May 18-20th at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA.



One thought on “True Value of Healthy Oceans & Waterways

  1. Dr. Nichols,
    I so totally agree with everything that you say and admire your dedication to the ocean. Because the ocean is also vital to me, I work hard with individuals of like-mind to bring awareness to the devastating effects of plastic pollution.

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