Through sailing and visiting remote, supposedly pristine, wildernesses I was becoming increasingly puzzled as to how and why we were having such a visual damaging effect on the environment. So I decided to embark on a adventure of the mind and undertake a Masters. Today I got news that I now have an MSc in Environmental Science and Society from University College London.
The focus of my studies were channeled down two main paths. One to further understand how people are moving due to increased salinity in their homeland. This journey included research into topics such as climate migration, climate policies and sustainable development.
My other focusexplored how we can develop a more emotional form of activism and move away from a green movement of dogma and harsh statistics. I am interesting in learning how we can develop a responsibility within us that intuitively leads us to care for natural systems. In this study I looked at various methods we use to value nature, such as Edward Wilson’s Theory of Biophilia, the development of a Sea Ethic and the concept of Eco Systems Services – I still cant get my head around man creating an economic value for a system that keeps us alive, surely the value of nature is beyond the man made system of economics?
Abstract from my research paper:
The rapidly declining health of the world’s oceans is of global concern. The oceans are no longer a topic of out of sight, out of mind. Research shows that it is not too late to reverse the devastating effect human impact is having on the oceans. However, the marine conservation community struggles to engage with the wider population the sense of urgency necessary to slow down, and reverse, the damage we continue to cause. We are facing a crisis and the actions taken within the next ten years will shape the quality of life for future generations.
This research analyses elite ocean-going sailing skippers’ relationships with the ocean, to explore values that could drive marine conservation strategies. The study commences by highlighting three conceptual frameworks that are most commonly referred to when discussing marine conservation approaches: Ecosystem services; ‘other than’ economic values, under the theories of biophilia and deep ecology; and the development of a sea ethic. The paper proceeds by looking at the relationship between peoples’ experiences in the natural environment and values that lead to pro-environmental behaviour’s (PEB’s).
These concepts are investigated further through in-depth conversations with twenty elite ocean-going sailing skippers, many of whom have professionally raced none-stop, solo and fully crewed, around the world. The paper discusses how these sailors conceptualise their relationship with the sea, with a view to generating insights about how marine conservation could be promoted more effectively.
From this research process themes are drawn that suggest in experiencing the ocean these sailors have developed a relationship with the sea that holds strong none-economic values. Finally, drawing from inspirations gathered from the study’s findings, suggestions are made as to further research that could progress this study and recommendations of marine conservation strategies are outlined.
This research discovers exciting voices for the silent oceans that promote the wonder of the blue planet. The voices could evoke relationships with the ocean that hold values of responsibility to improve the health of the seas; a subtle form of activism; one not based on fear appeals and dogma.