My name is Liberty, I live in Sydney and I’m currently completing a PhD at the University of Sydney. My dissertation focusses on artificial coral reef systems and the ambiguity of the term ‘nature’ in the Anthropocene. I also edit a journal called Holographia, which explores the intersection of science, art and philosophy.
I’ve always felt more at home in the ocean than on land. Over the past few decades we have witnessed dramatic changes in the health of our seas. The damage and pollution we leave on land, in our skies and off our coasts flows into the ocean, slowly suffocating the lifeblood of our planet- to paraphrase Sylvia Earle, we know what the Earth would be like without oceans - Mars.
Why did you apply to become a Global Ambassador?
We are lucky to be at a point where we are starting to recognize the consequences of our actions. As a Global Ambassador I am hoping we can help take this message further. Coming from a background in science and science communications, I have realized that education is absolutely the most valuable tool at our disposal. Once people understand why and how their actions can make a difference, they can be empowered in their choices and they can then go on to inspire the next generation.
What do you hope that this project will achieve?
Part of our work in Kerala will be exploring options for eco-tourism. Tourism can be a huge problem for coastal communities, in terms of pollution and waste management. But, on the other hand, when people have the opportunity to dive on a reef, the beauty and fragility of the oceans, as well as the issues that threaten them, seem so much more real. Creating sustainable eco-tourism programs can help mitigate damage to the environment whilst also inspiring people to take action.
In the long term, I am hoping that the work that we begin in Kerala will be a model for other local communities to follow and help them to take control of their environment and their future.
What would you like to take away from this project?
The one thing I’ve learned in my research is that it’s actually the small things that make a big difference. We can’t rely on governments and authorities – change needs to come from each and every one of us and our daily actions. Whether that is picking up one piece of rubbish from the beach or empowering coastal communities to maintain sustainable fishing practices, every action, no matter how small, is a change in itself and I hope to walk away from this project having spread some seeds for change in the local community in Kovalam and Vizhinjam.