I can remember the first time I went snorkelling. I was seven years old and the idea of being so close to marine animals was very exciting to me. However, I hadn’t realised how much this experience would affect me and change my life as the diversity that I was immersed in made me realise how passionate I was about protecting it. This beautiful, vibrant ecosystem that stretched out for miles to the outer reef seemed so stable and thriving.
This is not the case anymore. We tend to look at the oceans as this force, an enormous expanse of water where the world beneath the waves is alien and at times incredibly hostile. For many people across the world, the ocean divides them, it gives them resources that are so far removed from the origins they came from that some people don’t even know where the resources were sourced.
But really we often forget that the oceans and the ecosystems that make up the world’s oceans are so fragile and so many anthropogenic and climatic factors can detrimentally effect the oceans and the species that call it home.
I have always wanted to work in conservation, not that I really knew what that entailed for many years, I just knew that I cared and I couldn’t understand why other people did not when it was obvious that the environment needed urgent help and attention. I always loved wildlife and being outside, and this love was fostered in the relationships I had with members of my family who encouraged my passion from a young age.
I believe that science today and being involved with any aspect of marine, biological or environmental science should be a multidisciplinary practice. We need scientists that can communicate with business, politicians and the general public. Scientists should know about and be able to work with the complex relationships between research, policy, action and results because this is the only way to instigate true change. That is why I am so excited to attend The Ocean’s Conference as it has the potential to encompass all of civil society working with international bodies like the UN to hopefully bring about some change, whether that be in action or in changing and developing perspectives that could cause change down the line. I hope that as a future scientist I am able to take away an understanding of how change happens and is discussed at a high level event and I am forever grateful to AYLI for giving me this amazing opportunity. This is certainly not something I was expecting to be involved in in my first year of university!
I am sitting here in my room with the stuff that needs to go in my bag strewn across the floor, I am leaving tomorrow and I have so much to do! But it doesn’t matter that I have so much work to catch up on, or that I have barely had a full night’s sleep all week, because this opportunity and the topics and outcomes of the conference itself are so much bigger than me. Educating and empowering young people is the only way to ensure change created now is lasting into the future, and the experiences I am going to have with my incredible delegation will surely empower us to drive the change needed to have a positive impact.
Bring on New York!
All thoughts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences