- Could you please let us know more about yourself and how your connection to the ocean started?
My name is Aimee Clark, I am 24 years old and from Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I have been an advocate for our ocean for my entire life. Growing up by the beach on an island in the Pacific I was always surrounded by water. The ocean was a part of my identity, I loved its beauty, its power and the biodiversity under the waves. When I was nine, my Granddad sent me his collection of Sir David Attenborough DVDs and I watched ‘The Blue Planet’ for the first time. This ignited my passion for ocean conversation, marine biology and storytelling. All throughout high school, I was committed to protecting and advocating for our ocean. I started volunteering at our local aquarium when I was 12, helping to inspire others to share my passion.
I have a BSc in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies and am currently completing a MAppSC in Science Communication and Natural History Filmmaking from Otago University. I’ve had the privilege of attending the UN Ocean Conference in New York, Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Oslo and also the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, where I participated in the Youth and Innovation Forum and the Ocean Decade Forum.
Alongside my work as an ECOP at an international level, I have worked to create awareness and tangible change in my university through running ocean centred seminars and events, in my community through the creation of an ocean literacy initiative called The Yellow Submarine Project and nationally through working at the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO as both a UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leader, a Youth representative on the New Zealand National Decade Committee and as an Advisor.
When I first started my undergraduate degree, I originally wanted to undertake traditional marine biology research but through exposure to experiences like the 2017 UN Conference, I soon discovered the importance of communication and environmental education. In order for action to happen people need to understand things, be passionate about them and have an empathetic connection. That’s why I moved into science communication, conservation and activism.
We are currently living through a climate crisis which will have the greatest effect on younger generations, so helping children and young people understand the importance, fragility and beauty of the world’s ocean through immersive environmental education will hopefully help them connect and want to protect its system and environment over their entire lives.