ImpacTrip Activist Wall, Daniela Apparente advocacy voice
Since I was little, I have always had a very deep bond with the sea. Maybe it’s because I’m Neapolitan, and I’m used to having it by my side when I walk the streets of my city. Maybe it’s because I love the silence that surrounds us when we swim underwater, giving us a break from the frenzy that reigns on the surface. Or perhaps, more simply, because the ocean is the oxygen we breathe, it is a food resource, it is the sustenance of entire economies, it is transport and trade, it regulates the climate of our planet and much more, as well as having been a life incubator itself.
I have always had a very busy life, but I have always managed to carve out small spaces to carry out actions, real or symbolic, to raise awareness of marine conservation and contribute to the protection of our seas. By telling you about my experience, I hope to encourage you to do the same and (above all) much more!
When I worked in Barcelona as ImpacTrip’s local volunteer program coordinator, I was on the beach every weekend. To sunbathe? Well, no! Every weekend I joined a local non-profit association to do beach cleaning and raise awareness among local people, locals and tourists, on the theme of marine and coastal pollution. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many cigarette butts and how many kilos of microplastic we collected each time. But the most important thing was to be there, clean up the litter from the sand, and show the rest of the world how much better the health of our environment could be if we just changed our behavior upstream – with better education and respect for the environment.
ImpacTrip subsequently gave me the opportunity to expand our activities in Italy, in 2020 – working as local coordinator in Rome. Unfortunately, the advent of the global pandemic has slowed everything down, forcing each of us to “stop” and take care of ourselves. I decided to spend my time enrolling in a specialization course with the University of Cape Town, remotely, to understand how to sustainably manage and protect marine ecosystems by involving different actors of society, as well as different sectors: taking into account biodiversity, fisheries, local economies and governments and institutions that can (or already have) any kind of impact on marine and coastal areas. In doing so, I learned more about the sea, and the hope is that one day I will be able to contribute more to marine conservation one day.
Then, summer came! And independently I took care of creating beach cleaning actions in different beaches of my city, Naples. In doing so, I came into contact with a local association that campaigns for environmental education called N ‘Sea Yet, which I am a part of today.
In 2021, I donated a small (for me significant) portion of my earnings to non-profit associations active in ocean protection, and I came into direct contact with Sea Shepherd Italy to support, together with them and ImpacTrip, the #StopFinningEU campaign. You might not know that the EU is a major player in the exploitation of sharks and as inspections at sea are scarce fins are still illegally retained, transshipped, or landed in the EU. The aim of this campaign is to end the trade of fins in the EU including the import, export and transit of fins other than if naturally attached to the animal’s body. I invite you to sign here, and make a real difference: https://eci.ec.europa.eu/012/
public/#/screen/home. We need to collect 1,000,000 signatures before January 2022!
For the rest, what I can advise you is to always keep yourself informed about what is happening in all the seas of our world, and take small actions to raise awareness as many people as possible – even a simple sharing on Instagram, done well, can set in motion beneficial mechanisms for our environment. If you still don’t, start following the social networks (especially LinkedIn) of organizations like The Oceancy, Marevivo, WorldRise, The Ocean Conservancy. There are many projects all around the world, working hard to have a positive impact on our seas. Read their stories, and support the ones that you feel closer to your personality and goals!
I greet you with some suggestions regarding some books I have read on the subject, and which I found deeply meaningful:
– The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson
– Sea Change, by Silvia Earle
– The Silent World, by Jacques Cousteau (the inventor of SCUBA diving!)
And… for those who want to practice Italian:
– Pianeta Oceano, by Mariasole Bianco
– Il pesce è finito. Lo sfruttamento dei mari per il consumo alimentare, di Gabriele Bertacchini
Thank you all for your attention, please take care of our big, blue heart.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum, 1968.)