The Funny Story Behind the 2022 Contest Theme
September 24, 2021
By Bow Seat Founder & President Linda Cabot

Featured art: “An Unexpected Guest” by Eunice Choi, 2018 Ocean Awareness Contest

What is the new Ocean Awareness Contest theme going to be? At Bow Seat, this question bubbles up every July before our fall announcement of the next year’s Contest.

The 2022 Ocean Awareness Contest theme, THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, came about because of a TV show.

In 2017, I became obsessed with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I loved this story about stand-up comedy and how one woman comes to recognize and appreciate her talent and ability to make people laugh.

Rachel Brosnahan as Mrs. Maisel, smiling as she holds a mic in one hand and a mic stand in the other.

Rachel Brosnahan as Mrs. Maisel, a housewife turned comedian in the late 1950s. Image from Amazon Studios.

Laughter is a beautiful thing and something that my own family thrives on. We each have our own quirky sense of humor and enjoy silly, lighthearted moments together.

My husband can laugh uncontrollably for five minutes straight, which is both contagious and completely and utterly alarming. We have had comedy battles at dinner—i.e., who can tell the best joke. My daughters have hosted comedy nights where everyone prepares a two-minute stand-up comedy bit. We talk in funny voices, dance ugly dances, and prank each other constantly. When trying to cheer someone up, we send funny or cute memes to each other. My go-to one is this adorable little mouse that sits nonchalantly on a mini red swing 🙂

A meme of a white mouse with big eyes sitting on a swing.

My go-to meme.

During the height of the pandemic, I valued humor more than ever. It felt so good to laugh, to smile, and to feel buoyed by a moment of levity. I looked for these lively and playful moments and, like Mrs. Maisel, began to more fully understand the power of humor and the importance of being amused. Humor and wit can make difficult and overwhelming subjects more palpable and sometimes less threatening. Most importantly, humor has the potential to strengthen you, make you more resilient, and connect you to others.

A watercolor painting of a snail with a patterned shirt on its back sliding by a sign pointing to "Sunny Alaska."

“Not Quite Snail’s Pace” by Mikala Purugganan, 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest

Over the years at Bow Seat, we have addressed serious ocean issues, like overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change. We often talk about science communication and how to raise awareness about these grave threats, asking ourselves, How can we best communicate for our ocean? When thinking about this year’s theme, I considered the power of humor and how it can be used in the fight against climate change. Could humor invite more people into the conversation? Would students find this new theme exciting? I brought it up to my team, and we all thought, YES! So, here we go!

Learn more about the 2022 Ocean Awareness Contest: THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, here.

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The Funny Story Behind the 2022 Contest Theme

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