This week on our ‘Wild Mentors’ section our attention is on a young earth hero. A person who has in a very early life committed herself to saving the last remaining marine ecology that we have left in this planet. Wild Navigator welcomes Nicole McLachlan from Australia.
Wild Navigator interview’s a Q/A session with Nicole:
Q: Hi Nicole, Please tell us more about yourself?
A: I am a 20 year old Marine Biology student, filmmaker and marine conservationist from the Gold Coast, Australia. I am currently filming a documentary on marine conservation issues which aims at inspiring younger generations to get involved in marine conservation as well as showing young people that they can pursue their passion at any age. The children, teens and young adults of today are going to be the ‘decision makers’ of tomorrow, so my goal is to show kids the importance of our oceans and the biodiversity within for a ‘healthy future’.
Q: How did this all start for yourself?
A: I have been actively pursuing a career in marine conservation for many years, before I can remember. I began with local initiatives when I was about 12 years old, and after starting my degree a few years back I began working on the Great Barrier Reef as a wildlife tour guide at 18. Seeing what our underwater world has to offer every day at work made me more and more passionate to stand up to protect what we have for the future. My first role in direct action for our oceans was spending three months in Taiji, Japan in 2010 (as a part of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s long-term campaigns there) in order to raise awareness amongst younger generations about the slaughter of marine mammals worldwide. Since then, my passion has only become stronger and I have been developing ideas to make a bigger impact!
Q: What were the main highlights & vision to your mission?
A: Over the last few years, I have experienced the ‘highs and lows’ of marine conservation. Both have shaped me into the person and conservationist I am today.
There have been so many monumental experiences that I have encountered over the past few years, from bearing witness to a dolphin hunt for four months, travelling to the UK to attend the International Whaling Commission, filming whilst scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Vanuatu and Tonga and working in Australia to raise awareness of local issues. However, I will share just one highlight – the one that started it all. It was during a snorkelling tour on September the 3rd, 2010, on the Great Barrier Reef- where two huge adult Humpback Whales came and swam circles around me for almost half an hour, their beauty, power and grace underwater was overwhelming- that experience was the catalyst for my drive to get fully involved in direct marine conservation!
Q: Tell us about your campaign ”In our Hands” ?
The ”In Our Hands” campaign is something that I thought of at the International Whaling Commission last year in the UK. It is comprised of two parts- the youth project and the documentary… The entire campaign is basically to engage younger generations to learn more about the importance of the biodiversity in our oceans, to educate them on the threats that face our ocean wildlife and what that means for mankind. It simply aims to make younger generations think more seriously about our marine environment, and hopefully inspires them to take action or support the conservation of our seas. The youth project involves kids, teens and young adults placing a handprint and a message to save the oceans onto a sheet- the sheets will then be presented to the ‘decision makers of our time’.
The message it sends is simple:
The oceans and marine wildlife are being destroyed before our very eyes… it is in the hands of younger generations to reverse the mistakes of the past to give hope for a better future.
Q: What message would you like to leave for any young people reading this?
A: I’d like to take this opportunity in saying that our oceans are the life-support system of this planet, without a healthy ocean, life on land cannot exist. I urge everyone reading this right now to take a little time to learn more about our oceans and how important it is for us to protect what we have now, before it’s gone. Scientists predict that in my lifetime, at least 30%-50% of the species in our oceans will become extinct… if things continue the way that they are now. We have the power to reverse the mistakes of the past and create a better and hopeful future for our children and theirs.
And for those of you out there who has ever wanted to do something about a particular issue, you are never too young (or old!) to do so- I am proof of that. Something I always try and emphasise to kids is that you should always stick to your passion, because there are always ways to make it happen.
I will finish with my favourite quote by Margaret Mead: “Never forget that a small group of committed individuals can change the world, it indeed is the only thing that ever has…”
Her video message:
To get involved with the campaign, either head to her blog where you will find all the information you need, or write an email to Nicole and talk to her about how you can help! email@example.com
Wild Navigator thanks Nicole to be part of our ”Wild Mentors” series. Her work in marine conservation is certainly an inspiration to many in wildlife conservation and the younger generation. We would like everyone to support her cause and join in to spread the word. Thanks.