How can we communicate about the ocean effectively in a COVID-19 world? It is a question that many members of the Marine CoLABoration, a network of ocean-interested organisations funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, have grappled with since the start of the pandemic. There have been difficult conversations over the need to communicate sensitively, while also protecting the hard-won gains that have been made in recent years and continuing to progress forwards. Natalie Hart from the Marine CoLAB explores how we can push for meaningful change, but do so in a way that does not cause harm.
Keyword “marine issues”
The big opportunity of the decade is Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – maritime areas, clearly delineated, and protected in one way or another from atop the foaming wave to Davy Jones’s locker. But for them to make a meaningful difference, they need meaningful management, effective compliance and enforcement, and routine and widespread monitoring of benefits. That’s hard work. Arduous toil costs cash. Trusts and foundations have an important role.
As a group of Marine NGOs (loosely termed), we are a system, or perhaps more relevantly, we are an ecosystem. We have a loose common purpose, we relate to each other and our actions have consequences for each other, yet until now, we have barely been aware of each other and certainly did not collaborate and coordinate our activities. Not in any meaningful sense. Now this is changing.
Last year we established the Marine CoLABoration, a group of nine UK-based NGOs, each bringing different approaches, areas of expertise and geographical focus to marine conservation. We are funding the CoLAB to meet, initially over a two-year period, to explore new ideas and areas of convergence in a series of facilitated workshops using experimental ‘laboratory’ techniques. The CoLAB creates a collaborative arena to think differently, experiment with new ways of approaching problems, take action, learn and share. Its vision is to catalyse new and more effective solutions, working with the values that connect people and the ocean.