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Diving Into Marine Conservation With Inka Cresswell

by Wolf & Badger

Inka is an underwater photographer, marine biologist and ocean conservationist. Between her time in the big blue, she has contributed to book 'Women and Water', is an ambassador for Marine Conservation Society, and campaigns for ocean safe fashion and lifestyle.

Hidden by the surface, our oceans are a place of mystery and beauty. For those willing to dive into the unknown, Mother Nature provides a world of wonder; you can hover effortlessly among the twinkling bioluminescence, count the constellations on a whale shark's back, and dance in the current to the songs of great whales. Our great oceans, however, aren’t only a trepid explorer's ultimate playground - they are our lifeline....


Our oceans support an abundance of diverse life and provide us with essential ecosystem services; every breath we take is filled with oxygen created by phytoplankton in our oceans, our reefs and kelp forests create natural storm barriers safeguarding our coastlines, and even whales act as carbon pumps helping us to fight climate change. Despite just how connected our lives are to the ocean, these valuable ecosystems are under threat.


I’ve spent hours underwater cutting fishing nets off delicate corals and collecting plastic from reefs, and witnessed towering kelp forests once hundreds of feet high vanish from our coastlines. It was a heartbreaking reality check that left me with no alternative but to act.


By taking small but significant steps, we can collectively protect and preserve these magnificent marine ecosystems for future generations. Here are my practical tips and guidance on how to actively engage in marine conservation efforts.

1. Connect With Nature and Let Go of Eco-anxiety


Spending time in nature has incredible benefits for our mental well-being. Listening to ocean waves or swimming in the sea has been shown to actively reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase dopamine and other feel-good hormones. When we’re faced with headlines of environmental crises it's easy to feel anxious, but it's essential we stay optimistic for our future. 

2. Dress to Last


Making sustainable wardrobe choices minimizes your impact on our oceans. Synthetic clothing not only ends up in landfills but also releases microfibers into waterways during washing; use a Guppy friend bag in the wash to filter out microfibers, preventing their entry into the ocean. Opt for second-hand or B-Corp brands and choose sustainable fabrics with minimal environmental impact. 

3. Eat Locally, Eat Sustainably


How we consume food can have a big impact on the environment and our carbon footprint. I try to eat as much locally sourced food as I can; the Good Fish Guide by the Marine Conservation Society is a great resource for learning more about what's in season and caught sustainably.

4. Little Meaningful Changes Make a World of Difference


Trying to cut plastic out of your life entirely can feel like a monumental task, and for many isn't financially viable. Start slow, make small transitions that you know you can maintain and gradually build your way up to a more plastic-free lifestyle. When given the choice, try to buy the more eco-friendly options.

5. Get Creative


Think about how you can use your talents and passions to support our oceans. Maybe you're a graphic designer who could support a marine charity by creating impactful infographics, a writer who can write thought-provoking poems, or an artist that can create artivism. We each have our communities we can connect with, find your way to fight for our oceans by volunteering your time and talents.

6. Educate Yourself and Start the Conversation


Read books like ‘The Intersectional Environmentalist’ and ‘The Ocean and Us’ to learn more about these important issues. Diversify your social media feeds to follow marine charities and conservationists so you can stay in the know, and educate your friends and family about how they can support the ocean conservation movement.

7. Get Involved, Turn the Tides


Find out what marine organisations are working in your local area and see how you can support them. Join beach cleans, restoration efforts, or citizen science projects. I'm an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society and love getting involved in their Great British Beach Clean and annual jellyfish watch.

The oceans of the future may not resemble the oceans of the past. However, we hold the power to restore and shape our oceans into something even more magnificent. All it takes is action.

Writing and photography by Inka Cresswell