Congratulations to Ellie Siney!
Ellie Siney, 18, is from London, England and attended our Florida Marine Ecology Expedition in 2019, where she became PADI Open Water scuba certified and participated in a coral restoration project in the Florida Keys. Ellie also serves on our Youth Ocean Stewardship Committee and is graduating from secondary school this year.
How did you first become passionate about the ocean?
I fell in love with the beauty of the ocean at a young age and I’ve always had a deep connection with it ever since. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time by the sea and always enjoyed swimming and snorkelling. During the times where I was not by the sea, I spent most of my time learning about the ocean and marine life by either reading books or watching documentaries. Over the years my passion for the ocean and marine life grew stronger and stronger, and has determined my career path.
What do you think is most important that people realize about the ocean now?
I want people to know that we should not take the ocean for granted. For centuries humankind has regarded the vastness of our oceans as an inexhaustible source of food, a useful conduit for transporting goods and a convenient dumping ground for waste – too immense in size to be susceptible to our environmental negligence. But human irresponsibility is pushing our oceans (and the life-support services they provide) to their limits.
Many people underestimate the importance of the ocean, however, the ocean is the heart of the planet. It covers over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and produces 70% of the oxygen we breathe. It is also home to the greatest abundance of life on our planet, and provides us with food, medicine, jobs and a means of transportation. These are just a few of the many reasons why the ocean is so important. Without it, we cannot survive.
During the current coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to see the positive changes that are occurring (such as less pollution), and this could be the moment many people realise the undeniable link between human activities and the health of our ocean. We must not go back to bad habits once this ends – this is the perfect opportunity for us to change our lifestyles! So although there is talk that the Earth is now ‘healing itself’, we must be mindful and motivated to keep fighting and striving for a beautiful world, where we are living in harmony with nature.
What makes you hopeful about the ocean’s future?
Organizations such as Ocean Matters, make me hopeful about the ocean’s future, as they strive to inspire young people to help save the oceans, and provide them with leadership skills in order to inspire and educate others. I believe that we are on the way to creating a new generation of young people who feel passionate to protect the ocean and eager to make a change!
Is there something about this time that has influenced how you see your future?
I think that more than anything, this time has proven that you should never take anything for granted. It just shows how even the smallest of things, like seeing a friend and being able to give them a hug (which is not even imaginable during this time), mean so much.
What were the most impactful things about your experience with Ocean Matters?
For me, the best part of this trip was meeting other people who also shared an interest in marine biology and ocean conservation. I never expected to meet so many amazing people who were all so supportive and inspiring. It showed me just how powerful our actions can be if we all work together! I made friends for life and made so many amazing memories that I will never forget. I will forever be extremely thankful for my experience with Ocean Matters – it was the best experience of my life!
What are your post-graduate plans and, more importantly, what are your hopes for what you will do in the future?
I will be attending the University of Plymouth to study a degree in Marine Biology, beginning September 2020. I aspire to become a marine biologist and ocean conservationist. I have a particular interest in sharks and would like to specialize in shark research and conservation. During my lifetime, I hope to inspire other people to see the beauty of the ocean as I do and to encourage people to do all they can to help protect it!
Follow Ellie on Instagram!
Ellie is dedicating her IG account to raising awareness about the ocean and why it matters. Follow Ellie at @DivingwithEllie!
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