To go far, go together: Three lessons from the field
By Aurora Oberg
I am delighted to join OneReef as Director of Global Operations and Partnerships! I step into this role knowing that local communities are the most effective environmental stewards when armed with the right partnerships and resources – I’m eager to champion vibrant reefs and thriving communities from the ground-up.
For the past 15 years I’ve contributed to the fields of marine science, island conservation, and social responsibility. Recently, I started international collaborations to uphold human rights in the seafood industry, trained divers and directed subtidal research, and led field teams in the Pacific Line Islands, the Bahamas, Palau, and the Galapagos.
My experiences in social and conservation fields have taught me three things that I bring with me to OneReef.
Build it to last: Today’s world is fast-paced, but as changemakers, we must embrace complexity for as long as it takes for solutions to emerge. On the ground, this takes meaningful engagement and a lot of trial and error – things that cannot be rushed. Excitingly, new technologies are changing how we engage people and innovate to improve ocean health. For lasting outcomes, we invest time and resources so that new solutions are understood, adopted, and valued at the grassroots level.
Discover the human connection: “Don’t solve our problems without us” is a frequent request. Honoring relationships between people and their cultures, biodiversity, and traditional knowledge is essential to achieve transformational conservation. Indigenous communities across the Pacific exhibit a strong desire to be successful environmental and cultural stewards. We must approach project design and planning with a learning mindset, as they are often the experts and heroes of this work.
Break the script: The challenges of our world are complex and often daunting. Reefs rich in marine life are threatened and so are the people that depend on them. How can we stay inspired and reach a wider group of people? Sharing stories that are compelling, memorable, and inspiring are powerful options. Positive emotions can ignite action through shared experiences, identities, or interests. To protect coral reefs and help secure our future, OneReef will elevate a new cast of characters working at the forefront of conservation – stay tuned.
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