‘IOLN member Eimear Manning recently spoke on behalf of the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors at an event organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (UN DESA’s) Sustainable Development division. The event titled ‘Youth Participation and Engagement: Keeping Momentum for Ocean Action’ brought over 1,000 people from across the globe to a single online-platform to listen and share ideas on engaging young people in ocean conservation issues during this global pandemic.
“In order to continue youth engagement we [the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors] recommend having a discussion of all of the events and activities that you would want to conduct in-person to mobilize youth. After you have identified these activities, work to find if there is a platform that will enable you to conduct your ideas online. Youth-involved webinars were mentioned earlier [in the event] – and that’s great! But everything is becoming a webinar now, and I promise you that young people are being invited to webinar-after-webinar, so we all need to take a fresh look at engaging activities.” – Eimear Manning.
Peter Thomson, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, agreed with this sentiment by discussing his own feelings of ‘webinar burnout’, and expressed his interest in developing events for young people that would actively excite and engage them. Executive Thomson believes that ‘we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift’, but that action is needed to make any real change. It was clear at the event that the focus was enabling youth to become involved in activities beyond the norm, that would directly help marine ecosystems.
Eimear ended her speech on a personal note, speaking on behalf of young ocean activists and early career researchers everywhere:”It can be disheartening when youth voices aren’t included publicly, but instead only at events targeted directly at youth. So quote us. Share our research. Ask us for opinion pieces and publish them. Retweet us. That is youth actively spreading a message.”
And the story doesn’t end there. Peter Thompson was so impressed with Eimear’s speech that he wants to keep the conversation going with the Ambassadors, secluding a talk with them over the next two weeks.
You can connect with the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors on: