Stories

Ocean Witness Shimrit

Tel Aviv, Israel

“I witnessed the development of seawalls, breakwaters, marinas and ports replacing beautiful, natural coastal habitats.” When Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel started studying biology, she never dreamed of running an international company, but but her passion to make a positive environmental change led her to co-found ECOncrete with her friend Dr. Ido Sella: a company that helps build healthier urban coastlines. And hard work pays off: Shimrit one of the five awardees for the WE Empower Challenge, a business competition which honors female entrepreneurs (from each of the five UN regions) who are inspiring communities to act to create the world we want by 2030. Today, Shimrit shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Alex

Colorado, United States

“What am I going to do today that will make the world a better place?” Since Alex discovered his awe and fascination for sharks, he devotes his time to help saving them. In 2010 he founded Fins Attached, a non-profit organization conducting research, promoting conservation and educating people about the importance of sharks for the marine environment. Today, Alex shares his story.

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Ocean Witness Dorien

Schiedam, The Netherlands

“I think education is one of the most important tools of conservation.” From a young age, Dorien has been determined to save the oceans. She decided to respond to her determination to save the oceans by studying Biology and Oceanography. After her graduation, Dorien worked in places like Tenerife, to educate tourists about whales, and South Africa to research great white sharks. Nowadays she educates and informs the general public about sharks and rays at the Dutch Shark Society. Today, Dorien shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Lappies

Kommetjie, South Africa

“Knowledge brings change, empowerment and true understanding.” Jan Labuschagne - better known as Mr Lappies - has been teaching children about the ocean and its inhabitants for over 17 years now. Today our latest Ocean Witness shares his inspirational story.

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Ocean Witness Chris

Antarctica

“I never thought I could be working to protect our oceans for future generations one day.” Chris Johnson is a marine scientist with expertise in technology and science communications. He lives in Melbourne but grew up in the United States, where he used to read his grandfather's National Geographic Magazines and dream about unexplored seas. Years later, Chris and his team made dreams come true. For the first time ever, they managed to tag a minke whale to identify its feeding and breeding areas. We were fortunate enough to speak to Chris and today, he shares his story.

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Ocean Witness Marinela

Vlora, Albania

“People need to reconnect with nature – to feel the need and motivation to take immediate action. Now.” Marinela was born and raised in Vlora; a city where the Adriatic and Ionian Sea meet. She participated in lot of conservation initiatives to raise awareness of marine and coastal issues in the country. Today she shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Pavs

Cape Town, South Africa

“The first time I saw the ocean, I was absolutely captivated by the water. I fell in love with the ocean and it has been a love affair ever since.” Pavs grew up in Johannesburg and discovered her love for the ocean at the age of sixteen. She now lives in Cape Town - where she’s surrounded by two (!) oceans - and works for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI). Her job is to enable and empower South Africans to make wiser and more sustainable seafood choices. We met her via Skype and talked to her about the ocean and the important work she does to conserve it. Today she shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Samson

Beheloke, Madagascar

“Take your responsibilities with courage and never think that you are alone. We are all in this together.” Samson lives in Beheloke, southern Madagascar, where he used to be a fisherman. By seeing the positive effects of sustainable fishing and octopus reserves with his own eyes, he realized his community had to change things. Nowadays he spends his time as the president of the LMMA (the Locally Managed Marine Area) and advocates for the good management of natural resources in his village. Today, he shares his story.

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Ocean Witness Jessica

Seattle, United States

“The ocean has become somewhat of a life partner. The more I learn, the more I want to know.” Jessica is originally from Seattle, but now lives out of her suitcase. After an accident, diving unexpectedly helped her regain her walking abilities and cured her. She then decided to devote her career to the wellbeing of the ocean and now she travels the world to research the human impact on oceans and how these impacts can be reversed and realigned. Today, she shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Kalani

Hawaii, United States

‘I would say that the ocean is reciprocating: it is giving back exactly what we have been doing to it.’ Kalani Quiocho saw the duality of life and death in the ocean and immediately felt a great responsibility and moral obligation to do something; to protect his safe place. Today he shares his inspirational story.

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Ocean Witness Verena

Perth, Australia

“We can only care for something when we are aware of its importance.” As a little girl her fascination for the ocean began as she started snorkelling in the Mediterranean sea and chasing the waves. Nowadays Verena is a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and strongly believes the important responsibility scientist have to communicate how climate and environmental change impacts the ocean and what we can do about it. Today she shares her story.

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Ocean Witness Christophe

Ankilimionga, Madagascar

“There I was, in the middle of the ocean, wondering how I could provide for my children if I could not bring back any fish.” Christophe belongs to the ‘Vezo’: the traditional fishermen tribe in Madagascar. He and his wife Sarah have adopted seaweed farming as an alternative source of income, due to decreasing fish populations and wanting to protect their beloved ocean. Today he shares his story. 

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Ocean Witness Tommy

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Tommy Kleyn is the founder of Project Schone Schie, an initiative to clean riverbanks of litter and preventing this litter to end up in the ocean (80% of ocean litter comes from land). He has been organizing cleanups in the Netherlands and has accomplished many successes while doing so (his project went viral!). Today he shares his story and tells us what he does to make sure his children can enjoy the world the same way he did.

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Ocean Witness Hermany

Anakao, Madagascar

Ocean Witness Hermany was born and raised in a small coastal village in southwest Madagascar and the ocean has always been a large part of his life. He’s now the president of MIHARI (Madagascar’s network of Locally Managed Marine Areas) and not without success: already 17% of Madagascar’s seas are now under local management. Today we share his story.

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Ocean Witness Inga

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Inga is an artist, art director, digital designer and a proud mother of a 10 month year old girl. Originally she’s from Lithuania, but she’s been living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the past eight years. She recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help endangered penguin colonies.

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Ocean Witness Sandra

Cabo Manglares, Colombia

“By creating awareness for the problem as well as for the solution, we can find a way forward. Together.” Sandra Valenzuela about working together to preserve the oceans and the livelihood of Colombian communities depending on it.

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Ocean Witness Roziah

Omadal, Malaysia

She grew up in what most people would call paradise: Omadal, Malaysia. However, she’s been a first-hand witness to the ocean changing over the last decades. Roziah decided to take matters into her own hands and took on the responsibility of leading the Women's Association of Omadal Island. Roziah is our next Ocean Witness.

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Ocean Witness Fabien

Sipadan, Malaysia

“People protect what they love, they love what they understand, and they understand what they are taught. I believe that we all need to be Ocean Witnesses, so that we can give back to our future generations what we have taken for granted.” Fabien Cousteau about the global responsibility to take care of the oceans.

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Ocean Witness Peter

Suva, Fiji

"I am really glad that you’re doing this and crowdsourcing it, in a way, because it is not something governments or United Nations or somebody in another planet will do for us. It is what we all do as individuals, and as families and as communities." Today, Peter shares his Ocean story with us: past, present and future.

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Ocean Witness Emanuel

Peniche, Portugal

Our first Ocean Witness story finds its roots near the shore of Peniche (Portugal) where we follow Emanuel, one of the fishermen that changed his ways to contribute to a healthier ocean in the future. Peniche is an important harbor for fishery with a strong focus on the ocean for income surrounding the Berlengas islands – a MPA and UNESCO site. An important population of Goose Barnacles thrive in this coastal area. Read Emanuel’s inspiring story.

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Ocean Witness John

North Queensland, Australia

“I’m not going to go into all the threats and the pressures. But oceans are everybody’s business.” Ocean Witness John Tanzer on his earliest ocean stories and his outlook towards the future.

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Ocean Witness Alden

Pacific Northwest, United States

“The visibility changed and the temperature changed. And when that happened the diversity of all the coastal tide pool regions went away.” Alden Glinert on the threats the ocean is facing due to pollution.

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Ocean Witness Rindah

Solomon Islands

“We have to protect the oceans and all the marine resources in the South Pacific, so that the future generations are still able to see all that lives in the ocean.” Rindah Melsen emphasizes the importance of protecting the ocean.

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Ocean Witness Tarusila

Bua, Fiji

“My advice to young people: keep the ocean good, clean and healthy.” Tarusila Veibi has some excellent advice for future generations.

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Ocean Witness Daniel

Maragogipe, Brazil

"They feel more confident and proud of what they do." Ocean Witness Daniel Andrade about his successful project in the mangroves of Brazil.

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