Sharing is the most powerful tool for change.
The pursuit of researching the biological success of gorgonian octocorals is extraordinary. It is integrative and, therefore, interdisciplinary and collaborative. Most notable, is that by sharing at a variety of levels (e.g., local schools and communities on remote atolls to governmental agencies and large conferences) it has become clear that my research and that of my collaborators has significant meaning to others in the form of ecosystem management opportunities and local community collaboration - change. This in turn has given value, meaning, and purpose to what we do; an unexpected surprise and more than one could have wished for.
Figure 1. Students at the national campus of the College of Micronesia, in Palikir, Pohnpei during our presentation in 2017. Presenters (click here for more expedition details) were Dr. SJ Rowley, Prof. A. Baird, J. Hartup, and Dr. S. Lindfield. Image by M Dorricott.
Technological advances in imagery and communications brings inaccessible environments into peoples lives. Awareness brings about identification and action, therefore, change. This has become a key part of my work with others in the hope that delight in the natural world, and the awareness of it's challenges will be of benefit.
What is also clear, however, is that the environment around us continues to become a manifestation of our mental state of play. That the necessity for biodiversity assessment and conservation management is a human construct against its own influence. That even funding and conservation efforts can often be anthropocentric in terms of meeting the goals of sustaining ecosystem services and social approval. The evolutionary arms race within and between humans, and with nature itself appears not always for the appreciation of nature for it's own sake. Yet, the threat of species extinction and the environments in which they live is real.