17-year old Alena is from Ohio and is a passionate about protecting the marine environment. She serves on the Ocean Matters Team Ocean Youth Leadership Council.
1) What did you receive from your involvement in Ocean Matters that will stay with you moving forward?
What will stay with me from Ocean Matters is the connections I made with people who have similar interests as me. From these people I learned different perspectives relative to conservation, which has broadened my view of conservation as a whole.
2) What do you wish everyone knew about the ocean or could experience in the ocean?
Something that I wish everyone knew about the ocean is how much it has changed. While many tourist locations used to be thriving underwater ecosystems, a lot of that vitality has gone away and not many people have noticed it, which has hindered efforts to reverse the damage. Being shown pictures of reef sites from 20 years ago and then diving in the same location that now looks very different opened my eyes to the significance of the damage done by humans.
3) In your opinion, what’s the biggest threat to the world’s oceans and what is something we do about it?
In my opinion, the biggest threat to the worlds oceans is the uneducated public. There is a lot of misinformation that influences people’s support of ocean conservation as well as a lack of information on the issue in general. Our advocacy both online and in person helps with this problem, as well as our lessons on activism and public speaking.
What will stay with me from Ocean Matters is the connections I made with people who have similar interests as me. From these people I learned different perspectives relative to conservation, which has broadened my view of conservation as a whole. – Alena
4) How has your unique perspective helped inform your passion for the ocean?
My unique perspective comes from my passion for the environment and specific environmental issues. Because I have this passion, I have taken advantage of many opportunities, such as Ocean Matters, to further educate myself on conservation issues. My curiosity is constantly fueled by the knowledge I already have, with new questions constantly arising that I want to find the answer to. I also believe that the human population as a whole is destroying something that has cultivated life for millennia. My eagerness to learn about the ocean and desire to protect what can’t protect itself is what drives my passion for the ocean.