Drop in the Ocean

Drop in the Ocean is a virtual reality experience created by Conservation International in 2019 to connect viewers to much-loved marine species and the plastic pollution that is threatening them. Participants put on a virtual reality headset and enter into the ocean as tiny plankton. There are “star” species that Drop in the Ocean chooses to highlight during a person’s journey, which are the moon jellyfish, leatherback turtle,  comb jellyfish, whale shark, and, almost acting as the unsung hero, the Copepods, small bioluminescent organisms that feed multiple oceanic species. You can hitch a ride on the back of the turtle, become tangled in the tendrils of the moon jellyfish, appreciating their beauty and graceful movements, but then you can suddenly come face-to-face with a mound of ocean plastic. Conservation International partnered with micro-photographer Peter Parks to capture the scenes of ocean pollution participants encounter on their journey. This experience counters a criticism levied at other virtual reality experiences that are meant to inspire and connect people with nature by also showing the threats that these popular species face. It is not entirely clear if visitors are then given a path to action by being provided information on organizations that they can donate to clean up ocean pollution or conservation initiatives, which would nicely complement the awareness objectives of Drop in the Ocean.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Biodiversity, Immersive Technology, Pollution, Psychology