“why can’t I start a business that is not just about money, but it actually helps the ocean”. “we need to work to protect our oceans. It’s fundamental in conservation and to our eventual survival. I know it may sound extreme, but it really is” ~ Andrew Lewin
A marine biologist working for the Canadian government, Andrew Lewin was deeply concerned that regular folk were unaware of their impact on the ocean. He created “Speak Up for Blue,” an educational site that looks at key issues. Then he started sharing Citizen Scientist opportunities with friends who wanted to become marine biologists which turned into helping marine bio grads get internships and placements.
Andrew Lewin is a Marine and Freshwater Ecologist with a keen interest in communicating marine science and conservation to a variety of audiences. He founded SpeakUpForBlue.com to teach people how they can live more Ocean-friendly lives, be a sustainable diver, learn how to make sustainable choices and participate in different Ocean projects occurring around the world. He recently started to venture into teaching about social entrepreneurship and how businesses can promote sustainable practices through their social enterprise. “The fact that dive operations can take this on and easily adopt it into their program is…a benefit to their bottom line” … “It’s what we call … the sustainable entrepreneur field.”
People Want It to be Sustainable
“I use my science and my experience to help other people either get into science or get into conservation or issues to conserve the ocean.” “Citizen Science. This is the best thing that’s ever happened. Instead of taking a vacation to an all-inclusive resort, you…go scuba diving and you do a resurvey. That resurvey contributes to scientists who are doing research to assess the coral reefs around the world because we can’t be everywhere at once. That’s the benefit.” Andrew explains that there is a reason why public interest in eco-tourism and sustainable travel is growing, “because when people travel, they don’t want to harm the environment …they want to see the beauty, but they also want to see the culture and the people and … they want it to be sustainable.”
“They came out with a Citizen Science Program where divers…if they see a shark,they can help survey that shark. They can write down what type of shark they think it is. … The size. The shape… the data gets sent to Shark Savers and it goes to the researchers…who do … a global assessment based on divers activity all around the world.” “The fact that you can contribute to research to help save those sharksgives you that better feeling. When you say, “Oh! I did a dive.” That’s great. People are interested, “What did you see in your dive?” “I saw a shark. By the way, I sent all the data back to University of Miami researchers and now they’re looking at It.” People are, “Wow! That’s amazing. I can’t believe you just did that on one dive.”
Join a Voluntourism Program
Andrew adds that there are other great voluntourism programs that you can participate in and in the process become an ocean change-maker for example: “There’s a foundation called See the Turtles which was co-founded by Brad Nahill and Wallace J. Nichols. They offer an eco-tourism package that starts off in Costa Rica… The sea turtles come up on the beaches, they build their nests and lay their eggs. You protect those nests from being poached. You pay to participate, but most of the money stays locally, that’s a big benefit, because it shows the local community that the turtles are worth more alive than dead, its sustainability. Sometimes you see hatchlings and you help them get to the beach, you monitor them, you do a survey, you get to say, “I protected a sea turtle nest and let those hundred sea turtles go off into the ocean and hopefully they’ll survive and become adults” it’s a fantastic feeling that you get.”
Join us and Andrew Lewin to learn more about being a Citizen Scientist and the kinds of projects that you as an individual can participate in. See Andrew’s entire interview at the Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Andrew Lewin. Visit Andrew Lewin’s Speak Up for Blue or learn how you can participate in the other sustainable diving activities that Andrew discusses like Reef Check and the Coral Rest/oration Foundation. You can also check out See the Turtles.
You learned a lot about citizen scientist programs from Andrew’s article, if you want to discover more about these programs worldwide go to Graham Casden’s article at: Ocean Profiles: Graham Casden and learn about his Ocean First Divers sustainability initiative and Ocean Classrooms.