By Miel Sequeira-Holm
I had the most amazing opportunity to go to the Our Ocean International Youth Summit in Malta. I went with my fellow ocean-protecting islander, Dilluna Rivera. I learned so much while I was on this trip. We had different speakers and presenters that talked to us about being great leaders and the importance of what we’re doing for our ocean.
One of the many things that I learned was from Wietse van der Werf who is the Executive Director of the Sea Ranger Service. He told us to find people with different motivations and connect with people who have different interests. At first, I was confused, but eventually I realized that we shouldn’t be working and connecting with only people who have the same passions and motivations as us. We should be connecting with people from different backgrounds, with different motivations, and with different interests. People like to do what they are good at and what they’re confident in.
I also got the chance to hear from leaders from different countries and from different agencies and organizations. James Movick, the chief General of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency said, “If you have the ability to talk to people, you have the responsibility to those who can’t. Remember your roots, remember your family and friends that don’t have the same opportunities”. We should be speaking up and doing whatever we can to save the ocean for those who don’t have the opportunity to do so including future generations.
I met Adrian Grenier, the Co-Founder of Lonely Whale! He reminded us that we, the youth, are important for making change because we are full of energy and passion. We must also remember that we need rest at times and to give ourselves a break. He said, “Not one of us can change the world. That’s a false idea”. We all need to work together and collaborate; that way it’s more fun and effective.
I also had the amazing opportunity to meet Daniela Fernandez, Founder of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance. She and her team worked so hard to make the youth summit happen and to give the youth a voice. She said that other conferences are about the problems but “we are about the solutions.” That really inspired me because even though there are all these issues that are going on, we should be focusing and working on solutions for those issues.
On the first day of the summit Dr. Nathan Walworth, Co-Founder of CoValence Life, left us with a challenge question. He asked, “Do our actions represent our mission?” This is very important to understand especially as an Heir because we should be leading as an example to others on how to live life sustainably for the sake of our ocean. We need to be walking the talk.
On our last day at the Our Ocean Summit, Dr. Sylvia Earle spoke to us with encouraging words. She said, “You may never touch the ocean, but the ocean touches you with every breath you take.”
We owe it to the ocean to do whatever we can to save it. This trip was a huge learning experience and an awesome opportunity for me to talk with different people from different countries who have the same passions as me and to discuss solutions for our ocean.