How Can All Careers Be More Ocean-Aware?
Often when thinking of careers linked to ocean conservation, the default sectors that come to our heads are probably science or activism, however, when you think of it, so many careers have the potential to increase engagement and decrease damage to our oceans if carried out in the correct way!
In this blog, I am going to cover how so many different occupations and their employees can put their skill sets to brilliant use and put some of their efforts into benefitting our seas.
You may be thinking, "you’re telling me how other people can make changes, but not actually what I can do", however by covering a vast array of occupations in this article, you will hopefully be able to see how the ocean is linked to a sector you may be interested in, and therefore, how you can be the person to make these decisions!
Entertainment & Television
Media networks across the globe can control what content is presented to their audience, giving them opportunities to present ocean realities and struggles to the public in the form of documentaries, podcasts, or even what they choose to advertise! For example, they could increase the number of nature documentaries they choose to show, encourage a small podcast that discusses ocean issues or even choose to advertise companies whose products are ocean-friendly, or perhaps ocean conservation charities. For example, the new sky television channel; sky nature has allowed the network to broadcast several new nature documentaries, many of them being oceans related!
Given that education is compulsory for all young people up until the age of 16 in most countries, you can easily introduce and therefore engage students across the country to marine-related topics if that is what they are required to learn! The best way in which this can be carried out is by school boards allowing curriculums to include ocean-related content, or even by running extracurriculars that could enrich students who may want to work with oceans in the future. An example could be including ocean-related topics in GCSE or A-Level biology, or even more, making a subject for conservation in itself!
Have you ever been on the London tube and seen just how many people pick up a newspaper? Nearly every passenger, which is all the more reason to include educational content about our seas, allow for people to storyteller their experiences with the ocean, and even to advertise statistics and opportunities relating to the marine world. Examples could include the Nature on your doorstep youth writing competition hosted by 365 days wild, which saw the winner’s entry displayed in the huge magazine BBC Wildlife, allowing young people's stories about the environment to be heard far and wide.
Science is the most direct way in which people are trying to preserve our seas, however, it is much, much, more than just simple biology - subcategories can range from coral husbandry all the way to water chemistry, which are categories that a lot of aspiring scientists don’t even know exist, making it all the more important for scientific institutions to carry out research projects that people can get involved in to present that there are so many branches of science that feed into ocean life! For example, Harrow in Greater London hosts one of the UK's scientific parks, a section of which specialises in life sciences, and is very close in proximity to a university in which they can use their expertise and resources to make their project more of a success.
The fashion industry is so influential in the sense that the main role of it is to set trends, which means that designers can try to make sustainability a trend, by promoting ethically made clothes, or trends that are timeless instead of ones that will be out of fashion in the next couple of years. Additionally, fashion shows and events often have themes, so a show themed around marine life could be huge in gaining public interest! An example includes fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who based one of his fashion shows on sea creatures!
Out of all of these career branches, politicians and policymakers are the most influential due to the fact that they do not just encourage change, they force it. So many laws can be put into place in regard to industry, transportation, and how the country runs as a whole in a manner that does not harm the oceans. For example, the UK is one of very few countries in the world to have dedicated Marine Acts after a decade of campaigning - so many more nations need to adopt these.
It is safe to say that the economy definitely does not run in a manner that doesn’t harm the ocean, and this is because people put money into efficient companies, not sustainable ones. Yet, this efficiency means mass production, therefore mass gas emissions, and waste disposal, all of which harms our seas. While our country's economy could do so much better, some are miles ahead of us in terms of an economy that does not damage our blue planet, an example of large-scale companies working wonders for our seas is 4Ocean, where a pound of ocean plastic is pulled from the sea for each bracelet bought, but we should also look towards small businesses that create package-free products in order to pollute our ocean with less rubbish!
Every building in the country, all the way down to design and location is a result of the work of architects. Architects can make their sector more ocean-friendly by considering factors such as design elements and marine-based colours on buildings near the coast, using sustainable building materials of which the construction doesn’t form harmful toxins, all the way down to not building massive high rises near the sea and blocking peoples view. Examples of innovative ocean-based architects can be found all over the place, but a fantastic example is Lenka Petrakova, and her award-winning prototype for petal-shaped buildings on a tentacle-like platform that acts as an ocean cleaning facility – check it out here!
So, as you see, working in a way that benefits our oceans isn’t simply just science - every sector can do its bit! - Always remember when trying to be ethical; not every industry can run in a way that is perfectly aligned with the health of our oceans - that isn’t what it’s about.
What we need is a communal effort of all sectors making small changes, carrying out sustainability in an imperfect manner, rather than one of two carrying the load.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that in your (future) line of work, you will seek opportunities to help out our seas!
Written by Monica Kaur Bhatia