Perhaps Conservation and Black people.
I have days when I can't believe we are near the middle of the year, all to say, it's been a big week and I hope you’re keeping well.
Yesterday was World Turtle Day and it was amazing to be a part of the Beach Clean happening, however the words that tumbled in my head endlessly were,
Access and Privilege to be in spaces traditionally underrepresented.
We recently had discussions around how all conservation projects are asking people, traditionally underrepresented in these higher end leisure activities, to care and participate, when they have never really been partakers in these exclusive spaces.
Photo : Kimerudi Motswai
So yesterday as we did the Beach clean, I looked across at the Black lady with us, a Sunday, all other operators had finished at 13h00 and at 16h00, here we were, still at the Beach. Granted that the dive industry appeals and looks to engage under 25’s with no families or general responsibilities, I, as a Black Woman know that Sundays are set aside to connect, to gather self and help prepare for the week ahead while resting and and and.
Statements made included that ‘the other operators normally do not show’ and ‘maybe I’m just passionate about clean oceans’
And I think both of these statements are problematic in that, they fail to place themselves in the shoes of the people expected to be there, the Black people expected to be there to be specific. The same Black people who only experience this beach in servitude… working12hr+ days, easily 7 days a week - people who also have whole families that they rarely fully engage with.
And so on the one day they could finish early and be home, and present, are being asked to be on beaches, cleaning.
Something that is leisure for one but the continuous for the other, servitude.
And perhaps people care differently, and possibly have bigger problems too. Daily survival problems.
And later I wondered, how do we make these inaccessible places matter to people who have traditionally been denied access and continue to only see the benefit of these Marine Protected Areas only for their ability to provide food on the table and not for their families to enjoy too?
When we are saving rhinos, and elephants, and turtles and sharks, and oceans, what does it mean to expand this problem that feels shallow in the greater question of existence and survival in the greater demographic, where provision of food and shelter is still a daily struggle.
Exclusive, exclusion, minimal access with expectation of mass impact and mass participation.
What does it mean to create access at all costs, so the language currently belonging largely to the privileged in whichever part, expands to those that don't come from privilege, so it can be theirs too?
I don’t know, just questions, and answers and humanity and expanding conservation to see the humans being asked to participate in more initiatives that entail more labour, unpaid, mid the only family time, for oceans that you can’t begin to understand why you need to save them too.
In however many times these cleans are done in a year, perhaps this is not the question, I dont know what the question is, but we can save our oceans while saving humans too.
Have a stunning week friends,
Ps, in the World of Instagram Lives, we will be back soon, as soon as I find my feet! Don't forget to catch The Ocean Tribe Hangout Podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts where Season 1 & 2 has been released, share share share, mass love!