Hey guys 🙂
So it has been a few months since I’ve posted (definitely will have to start getting back into a better routine with the blog, hoping to post at least once or twice a week from now on!), so I’ll catch you all up on what I have been up to as well as some important marine conservation updates!
Well, over the past 6 weeks or so, I have been travelling and filming at the Solomon Islands and Great Barrier Reef for my youth documentary which will be finished sometime next year! The doco will accompany my ‘In Our Hands’ campaign and follow its’ progress- when it’s completed (shortly after the IOH sheet presentations) I am hoping to get the documentary into schools across Australia and overseas, maybe even as part of the high school biology/environmental studies/marine studies curriculum here in Australia! So I will be working on a student work-book all about marine conservation to accompany the documentary also 🙂
So I firstly went to Munda in the Solomon Islands and spent 10 days there diving and filming- what better way to do it than in 31C temperature water!! It was absolutely amazing, and what I can definitely say about the area is that its’ coral was absolutely beautiful! Being familiar with more hard coral species such as on Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef (much duller in colour) I was astounded to see such colour along the reef!
Although there was one thing that I did notice whilst in the Solomon Islands- that there were a LOT less reef sharks than I had expected… of course I knew why immediately, and a conversation with long time manager of the local dive shop, Graeme Samson, confirmed it. He stated, “on a dive now, you’ll see about 4 or 5 sharks- 10-20 years ago, you would have seen 20-30 at least…”
Apparently Chinese fishing boats used to lurk all over the Solomon Islands and especially in the Munda area and kill sharks in huge numbers for their fins- after a while the locals began to notice the huge decimation of the population of sharks in the area and many of the Tribe Elders got together and signed a petition to stop finning in the area, and it worked!
The decline of larger animals in the area was very obvious (sea turtles and large carnivorous fish species along with sharks were scarce in number compared with what would have been before human interruption), and on every dive whilst I was underwater I found myself imagining what the reef would have looked like 50 years ago… I also found myself thinking- imagine what this reef will look like in another 50 years? It was still beautiful because of the coral cover, but without a balanced food web in the area and with warming sea water temperatures, it may not last for many more decades to come. I look forward to returning in 30 years and hopefully being proved wrong! 🙂
So next was a three week stint on Lady Elliot Island- whenever I’m in the plane looking down on the island, it always feels as though I’m going ‘home’… This was where my journey really began. It was where most of my first underwater encounters with many different species occurred.
I was working there doing the marine wildlife tours and running their ‘kid’s club’ over the Easter holidays- this is one of my favourite ‘jobs’ over there as I get to hang out with kids and teach them all about the reef and marine animals- sometimes they have never been snorkelling, so I’ll take them out and usually encounter a sea turtle or two… I absolutely love spending time with the kids there (sometimes I’ll have up to about 15 running around with me!) because they have such an innocent view of the world, and when I ask ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ at the end of their trips- most of them want to become marine biologists! I just hope when they bring their children to the island one day it will be as special and pristine as when they visited as children…
Other than that, when i got the chance, I helped out with the sea turtle nesting/hatching monitoring program on Lady Elliot- and helped hundreds of little hatchlings find their way to the ocean! After seeing the adult females nesting over January, it is always incredible to come back a few months later and see the little ones starting off their journeys 🙂
Check out some of the video footage I managed to take while I was away! All filming is for my In Our Hands documentary/campaign! 🙂
So, now that I’m back, what next?
Well, I have been getting an overwhelming amount of people contacting me about my In Our Hands Project- and I’m seeing an absolutely amazing amount of support from all corners of the world! The project (I feel) is only just starting to boom, with media outlets, schools and organisations all over the world picking up the story and sharing it around or getting involved!
If you haven’t heard of the project, here’s a video I recently made and more info attached:
I want to get more kids involved, I want the message to spread far and wide, and I want to achieve my goal of 100,000 handprints before they are presented! So, due to this, there has been a bit of a change of plan…
Originally, I wanted to get to this year’s UN meeting to present the sheets- but, seeing the potential for the growth of this campaign (and the cost for a one-week trip to Brazil with only around 10-20% of my intended handprint number!) I am going to opening up the In Our Hands campaign for (approx) another year and take a big In Our Hands Education Tour around Australian schools, universities and events at the end of this year (or early next) doing marine conservation talks and gathering sheets…
I’m also thinking of presenting the sheets in a much more visibly impacting way (for example; marching them along the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or to Australia’s Parliament House) as well as presenting them at international environment conferences.
What I’ve also been thinking about and would love your feedback on is to maybe meet with young passionate people (that were involved in the project) from around the world to hold similar presentations at iconic locations or conferences in their own countries once the sheets are ready- they can be In Our Hands Youth Ambassadors… (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if this sounds like something you’d be interested in helping me with next year!)
I would love to have presented the sheets at this years’ UN conference, however I believe that the importance of this project lies within the education of younger generations, which will ultimately give the project’s final presentation a much bigger impact if I can get more and more people involved first!! 🙂
What do you guys think? Send me your feedback or suggestions if you can think of any ideas 🙂 It’s as much your project as it is mine as I’ll be speaking up for all future generations…
The last thing I wanted to cover was a bit of an update on recent marine issues:
Firstly, think about why we all get involved or care about the protection of animals/species… The most important thing to me is:
To keep biodiversity in our oceans and to protect species from extinction…
Well, if this is the most important factor about conservation- we should ALL be turning our heads toward the New Zealand Government RIGHT NOW!
There is a species of dolphin called to Maui’s Dolphin (related closely with the critically endangered Hector’s Dolphin) which has an estimated remaining population of 55 individuals…!
That’s right, only 55 left in the entire world!
There are more than 55 people in most large human families… imagine your family being the only humans left on this planet?
Something MUST be done to stop the extinction of these beautiful creatures- watch the video below and learn more about them and how you can get involved in having your say to the NZ government right HERE!
HERE you can read all about Sea Shepherd’s new campaign to stop the killing of Sea Lions in Oregon, USA- get involved if you live nearby!
Click HERE to learn more about the injustice of the shark finning industry and why many species of shark are overlooked when it comes to CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species)- the organisation is infiltrated by officials who are very much invested in the continuation of the shark fin trade! Read more and sign the petition!
As the world turns, our oceans continue to be decimated… without life in the oceans, there will be no life on land. One day, hopefully when it’s not too late, our society comes to realise this and act as fast as we can to reverse the mistakes of the past.
Until then, I will continue to spread the message to younger generations- the hope and future of this world…
Sorry this is so long- it’s been a long time since my last post, but I am going to try my best at weekly posts at the very least! 🙂 So that I don’t have to write a long one like this again! haha..
Hope you’re all well, as always- email me if you have any comments, suggestions etc or if you’d like to get involved with my In Our Hands project!
Thanks for the support! 🙂
On the path to protect,