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Dear Ocean Family,

The last few days have been a blur. Many of us are confused, scared, angry, while others are happy, relieved, and hopeful. These are the feelings which a populous almost always experiences on the brink of a big change. Those working in the environmental space, which composes a large portion of my friends, supporters, and collaborators, are confused and worried about the future of our planet’s health.

After the election, I implored myself and our team to avoid social media and take much needed personal time to reflect and be with those we value most, without getting caught up in the madness of our personal news feeds. This was a good exercise in perspective for us, and I wanted to share some important takeaways, particularly for those of us who see ourselves as caretakers of the environment:

  1. Our mission as stewards of the environment and creators of knowledge transcends partisanship.
  1. The hard work we, and others, have done in the field of conservation will not just suddenly disappear because a different political party takes office. Stand behind your work and the value of what you are doing. It matters. Now, more than ever, it is up to us to make sure our work is communicated beyond our bubble. At Beneath the Waves, we are already thinking of ways in which we must bridge the divide in the coming months and years. We have to all be thinking this way. We have no excuse.
  1. The role of conservation NGOs and storytellers just became even more important. This ecosystem, whether we are focused on sharks, climate change, or land conservation, will continue to be an important agent of change moving forward. To that end, non-profit leaders should be looking to draft talent that will help bridge the divide. There are many brilliant, passionate, and motivated people in our universities and communities. Let’s activate them and make sure we listen to and incorporate those ideas from the other side.
  1. Never forget that the creation of knowledge is beautiful and this process will endure forever. We have a chance to contribute to stories of hope every day. If you didn’t believe this, you wouldn’t be working in conservation.
  1. A couple things that continue to surface in our team discussions: (a) standing up for what you believe in is human nature, and that will never go extinct. (b) Being a good person will never go out of style. We need to keep embodying those traits and working hard.

At the end of the day, our elected officials – love them or hate them – don’t detract from our ability to inspire, build, and work hard for what we believe in. For unity to happen, we need to get off our social high horses and listen to one another. You are allowed to feel angry or scared, but positive discourse is what we need most.

Bob Marley once said, “one good thing about music, once it hits you, you feel no pain.” Boy, is this true. If you are reeling, throw on some tunes, I promise you will feel better. My favorite song is “Africa” by Toto. It never fails to make me feel better. 150 million YouTube listens can’t be wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQbiNvZqaY

We will keep progressing on our vision for healthy oceans and a healthy planet.

 

With regards,

Austin