When people ask me what inspired me to get into the marine conservation field, usually I cite the amazing Dr. Sylvia Earle and her life-changing book (for me), Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans. And while that is the truth, it’s not the whole truth.
The first inkling that this is what I wanted to do can be traced all the way back to my favorite Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. Citing Disney as an inspiration doesn’t sound as impressive as Dr. Earle, they both played significant, yet different, roles in my love and perception of the oceans. Dr. Earle’s book described in detail the plight of our planet and ways in which we could help save the ocean. It was powerful and made me want to jump in and start working immediately.
The Little Mermaid taught me about the joys of the sea. I wanted to be Ariel, surrounded by my fish and lobster friends, singing upbeat songs while swimming through the beautiful coral forests. Given the continued dire news regarding the health of the oceans, it is easy to feel helpless. Returning to The Little Mermaid, though, reminds me of the hope and happiness that exist in underwater. Even if the fish don’t really sing and I don’t have fins, it is the feeling that matters and keeps my hope alive.