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Reimagined Ocean Conservation

Hello Friends!

I hope you've had a stunning weekend,

Last week I spoke of paying Black people For their work and their time, this followed discussions across the world of Black people voicing their hardships in the effort to work in this Ocean space, with one person saying they’d have to go back to their previous work because they weren’t making ends meet.

How insanely massive is this Sting Ray? Anyway, lets get back in.

This is a problem. But what seems to be the problem?

  1. Black owned and run conservation organizations not getting as much funding as white and or white foreign owned conservation agencies, even in their own countries.

  2. Continuation of requests for free labour. So a stacking of organizations worked with to build your ‘know’ verified by all these organizations that used your work and placed you back where you were. Without compensation.

This doesn’t sit well with me because non profit doesn’t mean broke. So why is there a deep disparity in how the organizations get support?

I asked the question of how Black people would continue conservation in the colonial way, showing up in spaces to teach and share their know without rising an economy that sustains the communities they work in and encourages them financially to conserve its waters.

The idea that we can only save the seas is lost when people are hungry and trolling companies take all the fish by night, soon even fishing will be a lost income source.

Empowered conservation must be the way of the future where efforts to conserve the ocean is not only aid coming from outside, but becomes the community and sustains the community and the people who work in the conservancy.

What would it mean to have non-profits work in communities, pay the people who are helping and working in, actively uplift the community and then hand over the mantle to continue the work elsewhere because no project should be outside run indefinitely.

Our footprint should be more than them but us, and the sustaining and protecting of our oceans by caring for all the stakeholders in the engagement line.

There must be a skills transfer.

There must be empowerment not just development.

And there must be agency to bring the community to its feet mid teaching, otherwise we have another run at colonized communities and white saviours while funds pour into everywhere but the people being ‘saved’ and their communities too (read, only their oceans).

Africa has always been different in that way, that the mountains and oceans being fought for have largely been exclusive in access and those fighting for these spaces, perceived to be elite, which is also often the case… luxuries because food on the table is the problem to fix first. All while parents worked away from home and children raised their siblings.

We have to paint a better future than the continuation of this, oceans must mean more than the waters we point at while telling stories of big snakes and fear but must become ours in every way.

I often reference corporate social responsibility funds being problematic in their execution because it looks at individual heads and their passion projects, some will give to churches others mountains while others pay for dog remains to be scraped off the roads and cremated and sent back to their owner. The multiple directions lead by individual liking doesn’t move a country forward, collaborative efforts move a country forward, could you imagine a strategy to fix ails in surrounding communities by a communal corporate kitty with a strategy to empower for a better tomorrow for all?

Governments are a reflection of the ables efforts and care towards the underserved and most vulnerable (not in the individual ‘my helper’, but the collective)

We can do better and should do better.

Conservation need not only look to sustain its keepers but it’s community and it’s people too.


A note, Black in this article is referenced as everyone not white. BIPOC.

All images were taken and belong to Zandile Ndhlovu


My guest on the live this week was Shivani Goberdhan, ana mazing human doing amazing things in the ocean space and using her voice for the greater good, read more about her below, and listen here.

Shivani Goberdhan’s specialty in Speech and Language Sciences, working with adults and children who have Special Needs lead her to her current home, Hawai’i.

There, she developed a waterwoman lifestyle as an outrigger canoe and surfski paddler and AIDA Freedive Instructor.

Being in the ocean daily, she observed an immense need for increased globalized understanding and education about the current plastic pollution crisis.

She shares her love for environment and ocean activities, through education, volunteering, instructing and inclusion advocacy.

Have a stunner week friends,


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