By Andi Cross, Edges of Earth Expedition Lead
With so many complexities to navigate, it can feel extremely overwhelming to think about how we as individuals can contribute to the ocean crisis. Many of us want the chance to participate, but don’t know where to start or who to support. The Edges of Earth expedition is meant to help shed light on exactly that—the individuals, teams and organizations you probably have not heard about who are contributing to the oceans every day.
As avid divers and freedivers, we are going to 50 of the most remote dive sites over 24 months. Through diving, we are meeting those on the frontlines of conservation that have dedicated their lives to the ocean—from ecotourism operators to scientists to community leaders. People doing high-touch work, who’s impact stories go untold. For us, positive ocean progress and achievements of remarkable people living on the fringe is a massive void in our current ocean narrative. We aim to change that by highlighting how people around the world have built successful, stable careers blending their profession and passion.
So, how can one individual’s commitment turn into positive ocean change?
1. The Ripple Effect
Working towards a healthy ocean has to start somewhere. Most conservation efforts begin with a single individual who has an idea on how they want to contribute. By shining a light on those who have dedicated themselves to the cause, we can witness the ripple effect that occurs. When their conservation stories are shared broadly in an effective manner, it will inspire others to join forces with existing initiatives or create their own. Highlighting how someone moves from a mindset to an idea to taking action is what we need to discuss more often. This will help to drive the wave of change that reaches far beyond the boundaries of any single dive site or individual.
2. Inspiring Action Through Success Stories
With so much negative news bombarding our feeds, it’s hard to stay positive. When we can’t stay positive, it’s hard to see how our sole contributions will matter. Instead, by showcasing the achievements of those dedicated to conservation, we can inspire others to take action and understand there are many unique pathways for how to get involved. Contribution does not have to be linear. More than ever, everyone’s individual acts matter when it comes to keeping our ocean healthy. Whether it’s a local fisherman turned ocean advocate, or an tech entrepreneur who has uncovered a revolutionary method to clean up the ocean, these stories provide hope and motivation. Triumphs against all odds show us that positive change is possible, encouraging us to play our part in safeguarding our planet’s precious ecosystems.
3. Fostering Collaboration & Empowering Communities
Success stories are powerful catalysts for change. They act as a proof of concept and often deep sources of inspiration. If untold stories from different corners of the world start to stack up, we can prove what’s possible. This allows other like minded individuals to rally around causes or concepts that matter to them. Collaboration becomes encouraged. By empowering local communities, we create a network of guardians who are committed to protecting diverse ocean ecosystems all around the world. Conservation is not a solitary endeavor. Although one individual can start the conversation, it’s the community at large that creates the real change.
For us, diving has been the gateway to ocean conservation. Through the sport, we’re meeting the people who have spent their entire lives working to keep the ocean healthy and thriving. This has allowed us to witness first-hand the power of visibility when sharing conservation stories. There are so many incredible people around the world with the motivation, passion and drive to keep working towards this lofty, challenging and seemingly impossible goal. When we work together to share the positives more than the negatives, we can make the significant impact needed to safeguard our planet for generations to come.
Andi Cross is a growth strategist, divemaster, founder of impact consultancy WILDPALM, and lead of the Edges of Earth expedition, highlighting conservation stories of remote ocean communities and organizations in 50 destinations worldwide. To keep up with the expedition and see where the team is going next, follow the team on Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Youtube and their website.