As Ocean Science and Conservation Communicators, we sometimes fail at promoting Ocean Optimism. We need to work at better communication.
When I first started SUFB and started to communicate and bring awareness to all of the issues surrounding the ocean, I got feedback that it was too depressing. I focused more on the issues; not the solutions. People felt hopeless, and felt that the scope of the issues was beyond their control. That’s when I realized, and decided to pivot my approach to empower people to live for a better ocean! The SUFB that you see in front of you now. That you interact with now, is a more solution based approach to getting involved and helping the ocean.
This past year at the IMCC (International Marine Conservation Congress) there was a session called Ocean Optimism, and it was all about the “how” how do we spread ocean optimism, how do we raise awareness surrounding the issues without making them so daunting that people feel helpless? How do we bring more optimism to the Ocean? There is an entire website dedicated to Ocean Optimism, you can find that here. That was a major focus at the conference, and it really made me think…”how do we offer easy to implement solutions.?” I started searching and found that people were posting short but highly interesting videos on all things “ocean” one is below. All of that information being shared and re-shared, because they see how others just like them are taking part and making a difference. You rarely see ocean issues with a negative connotation, there is a reason for that. People don’t want to see the “doom & gloom, when they see that, they tend to throw their arms up. This problem is too big for just me to make a difference. So, as part of the solution, let’s discuss the issues, with a positive connotation, with a focus on a little part we can each play. Ocean Optimism. Getting people engaged.
What I want the SUFB community to do is to spread the word, to focus on the Ocean Optimism, don’t throw your hands up when you hear about Climate Change, or Over-Fishing. Instead, spread the message around and spin it into a solution. Bit by bit. Join an organization. Dedicate your career to marine science and conservation. We have to be part of the SOLUTION. We can ALL play a part. I live in Ontario, I don’t live near an Ocean. I live near a Great Lake, but not an Ocean. I can’t go to the ocean everyday to do beach clean ups, or look for turtles or whales that may be in distress. What I CAN do everyday, from my home, is spread the word, bring awareness and, late at night, through this podcast I record, I discuss, I work really hard to bring the important news to you. That’s my calling. That’s what I’m able to do. I may not be able to be there physically, but I am damn sure able to spread my message around. And the feedback I get on YOUR Ocean Optimism is unparalleled.
Your job now is to find out what your purpose is. Where you can jump in. How you can help. From wherever you are. Whether that’s dedicating a few minutes, or a couple of hours to volunteer, or dedicating your career to Marine Science & Conservation . We all need to do something for the ocean every day. If we don’t we’re going to see a lot of changes (like we already are). That will impact us, the human species more than anything. We need to hold the Ocean in Optimism in an effort to inspire change within you, and within your community so that we might be in awe of the ocean for ourselves, our children, and many generations to come.
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