Sea-ing through the eyes of a Marine Conservationist

On a Friday night, 8 May, I sat in my room and joined Burning Questions online. The cool Marine Conservationist, Pei Rong, shared with us about her work at NParks as well as her personal environmental journey. The session was very eye-opening as I learnt about how she conducted Intertidal Walks and Surveys.

In between her stories, Pei Rong shared with us different quotes that inspired her. One quote she shared stuck with me, as she encouraged us to dig deep and search for avenues where we’re best suited to help. Not all of us are called to be researchers, but we can all definitely do something!

Look in the mirror, consider your talents, and think about how you might use them to make a difference. Some have artistic skills, others are good with numbers or have a way with words. Everyone has power to make a difference as an individual, or by joining the company of others who share a common goal. The key is in knowing that what you do matters…

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Towards the end, Pei Rong shared with us her personal principles of conservation, one being to recognise the different users and their needs. For example, the sea is used for shipping, recreational fishing and a home for marine life. In drawing out conservation plans, one must consider these needs and try to strike a balance between them. This rounded approach stood out to me as I realised conservation is not a zero-sum game. It is not feasible to take a hard-line approach, barricading our nature spaces and denying human entry in the name of conservation. Interaction with Nature is crucial, especially for communities to take interest and see the value in conservation. As Pei Rong also pointed out, conservation must be a concerted effort, involving all stakeholders, including the public. This is certainly something to keep in mind in decision-making, no matter how much we wish for the environment to thrive.

I left the meeting feeling inspired and with fresh perspectives on conservation. It was a very enjoyable and educational one, thank you so much, Pei Rong!

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