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In honour of International Women’s Day tomorrow we chatted with five of the talented women at Ocean Wise for their advice and insights on working in the industry.  

In this blog we’re highlighting our wonderful Ocean Wise Youth and Education Admin Manager, Addie Vasant.

How did you come to work in ocean conservation?

It was serendipity mixed with a sprinkle of intention! While completing my computer science degree, I found myself gravitating toward sustainability initiatives like shoreline cleanups and clothing swaps. Upon graduation, I came to realize that my passion lay in making a meaningful impact in the world. I set sail into the world of environmental and educational endeavors. In early 2020, I received a call from Ocean Wise and the rest, as they say, is history!

What have you learned in your role so far that has surprised you?

Coming into this role without a background in marine science or environmental education, and not being a native Canadian, there are many things that continue to surprise me. Initially, I felt a bit overwhelmed by my colleagues deep understanding of oceanic realms, often feeling like I was playing catch-up. However, what truly struck me was the welcoming atmosphere among my peers. There was no hint of judgment for my lack of expertise – they embraced the opportunity to share their passions and in turn expressed a genuine appreciation for the skills and experiences I brought to the table. This reinforced the notion that everyone contributes uniquely to our collective efforts and that there are many ways to make an impact in our quest for environmental stewardship.

Do you have any tips for staying positive and managing eco-anxiety?

Building a community of passionate individuals who share the same drive and determination towards furthering our cause has been like discovering a fountain of optimism. Every day, their enthusiasm fuels my fire and propels me forward by fostering a sense of collective purpose and resilience. My biggest tip would be to find your people! I feel incredibly lucky to be working with Youth programs and to play a role in helping youth find their community and their sense of hope and resilience in the face of climate change.

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into the field?

I wish I had recognized sooner the profound influence of social justice and intersectionality on ocean conservation and climate change. It’s crucial to understand that environmental issues are deeply intertwined with socio-economic factors and power dynamics. My advice for aspiring conservationists is to delve into the complexities of these intersections. Take the time to explore how environmental degradation disproportionately affects marginalized communities and exacerbates existing inequalities. By embracing a more inclusive and holistic perspective, we can address not only the ecological challenges but also work towards an equitable future for all. Networking with diverse voices and advocating for intersectional approaches is paramount in making meaningful strides towards conservation efforts and social justice.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in ocean conservation?

Definitely the connections with the young folks who are out there making waves, and the solid friendships I’ve built with my colleagues. They’re my daily dose of inspiration and motivation!

Read the rest of our International Women’s Day Interview’s Here:

Posted March 6, 2024 by Kim Bricker

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