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Embracing the Ocean and Its Habitat

Danni Washington is not only the face of Discovery Exploration, but she is also an ocean advocate and conservationist who has plans on how everyone can make a big impact.

The World Oceans Week started off with a bang, giving pertinence to the ocean. Danni Washington shared her insights on her marine journey.

The Ocean Girl

Danni’s inspiration started off at a tender age, “My love for the ocean began when I was six years old while growing up in Miami, Florida.” Even then young Danni was fond of the ocean and couldn’t be kept away from it. “My curiosity blossomed as I grew older and my activism was sparked while in high school attending a specialized marine science magnet program.” She started scouring the locality by speaking to about her passions and the negative impact that humans can have on ocean health.

Subsequently, she armed herself with a higher education from the University of Miami in marine science and biology, where it dawned on Danni that facts alone won’t change the perception people have towards the ocean. “I quickly learned that it wasn’t enough to spew out facts and data to prove that humanity needed to pay attention to the declining health of our blue planet. By shifting my tactics toward the art of storytelling and hosting video content on television, I have been able to connect with many people and various communities,” said Danni.

She then moved forward by working as an ocean advocate, she started a youth-led non-profit organization with her mother, Big Blue & You, Inc (BB&Y). “Our mission is to inspire and educate young people to love and care for the ocean using art & media,” said Danni. Discussing the Miami-based organization “Big Blue & You aims to actively inspire that love and admiration for the ocean as opposed to fear and misunderstanding.” Using her platform, Danni has continued to inspire change globally.

Ocean of Change

 According to Danni “Individuals can make a huge impact daily by shifting their mentality first. People need to reimagine the world and be inspired to question every behaviour in order to assess if that behaviour is detrimental to other people and the planet.” Danni has some quick advice on things to change daily to create big change.

1) Banning single-use plastics and using reusable bags

2) Consider organically growing your own food in your backyard or a garden to help with sequestering excess carbon out of the atmosphere. Another option she highlighted is investing in carbon credits or pay for the planting of trees in the community.

3) Focus on a plant-based diet where livestock is cut out along with dairy and seafood. If you’re unable to be completely plant-based, then try to transition to eat meat, poultry or fish only a couple times a week.

“Multiply these simple behaviour changes by 7 billion people and we will see a massive positive shift.“

The younger generation needs to be more focused and inspired to make changes

 “I would encourage young people to BE the change they want to see in the world,”

Danni implores. “They have to unapologetically demonstrate new behaviour patterns that others can visibly witness and be inspired to change their own ways. No one is motivated by a guilt-driven conversation and someone else belabouring the plethora of ways we are actively destroying the planet. We all need tangible solutions that we can apply to our busy lives on a daily basis. Otherwise, majority of people are liable to fall back into a pattern of apathy.”

A New Wave

At present, the ocean conservation is moving toward making a shift to include new leaders and perspectives in the movement. Climate justice has always been cognizant of intersectionality. The ocean community, which has traditionally been occupied by affluent individuals, is being summoned to do the same through intersectional environmentalism, a term coined by young activist Leah Thomas—it means redefining an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet.

It denotes how injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. The most vulnerable communities and the earth, to the forefront, does not silence social inequality. Danni who feels inspired by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) who are beginning to elevate into leadership roles, which give them the power to influence and drive key decisions such as human interaction with the ocean are currently making an impact. Communities of colour are generally on the frontlines of the negative impacts of climate change and deserve a seat at the table when determining how to build climate resilience.

Humanity will only survive if we continually reflect the unique and diverse collective of voices that inhabit Planet Ocean.

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