Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How do you get taken seriously as a conservation activist?

When writing a blog or a comment on social media, it is easy to get a little rigid in one's stand on an issue or one's view on a group or person. Once our mind is made up, it tends to be difficult for us to change it, or admit that someone we don't like actually did something good.

People who don't agree with you won't change their mind, unless you have an open mind, are able to see where they are coming from and are able to specifically explain, why you disagree with them. While I can certainly see the passion behind someone opposing, for example OCEARCH, I question whether you can convince someone to see things your way, by just wholesale condemning everything they do. The only people you convince that way, are the ones already agreeing with you.

If you speak out against specific things instead, like (OCEARCH) lifting sharks out of the water, the fin damage their tags cause (pictured below) etc. If you explain how those things could be done better,  I think you'll have a much better chance to get them to change. Even if they themselves won't change, maybe you'll convince some of their supporters or sponsors and they can make them change.


A great example for doing it right is DaShark. He is certainly a guy with an opinion on things. His view on groups like Sea Shepherd tend to be mixed to say the least. In his own words " I harbor, to state it mildly, mixed feelings" What makes him different is the fact that he is not rigid in his thinking, he gives credit, when he thinks someone deserves credit, just like he does here and here

Admittedly, it is not easy to have and open mind, and sometimes it hurts to acknowledge that someone is doing something good. DaShark acknowledges that this way "Mark this day in your calender! I'm gonna say something positive about the SSCS! (And before you ask - yes it did hurt. But what is fair is fair.)"

So what does keeping and open mind and working with people instead of against them get you? Well in DaSharks case, a national park! He is none other than the guy who was instrumental in creating the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji, a project that saw the number of fish species present go from around 260 to over 460 in a 10 year span!
DaShark with his "girls" in the "SRMR"

Of course it was not just his open mind that got this project accomplished. There was a lot of hard work instead of "slacktivism" involved. In other words, if you really want to change something, you have to do more than just have an opinion and open mind. You have to get off your butt and actually do something.   

You can follow DaShark's blog here.

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

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