Good Housekeeping (UK)


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Three readers on how they are battling to save our oceans

Plastic pollution, climate change and unsustaina­ble fishing are destroying our incredible oceans, but there are some leaders aiming to turn the tide on this. Arielle Tchiprout meets three of them

‘To solve the crises in our seas, we all need to come together’ Marine biologist and wildlife photograph­er Inka Cresswell is using her underwater experience from around the world to inspire younger generation­s.

Ihave always felt at home in the sea. I grew up in Brighton and the beach was like my back garden. My dad is a dive master, so I learned when I was 11, completing my qualifying dives on the Great Barrier Reef. I became captivated by the underwater world. Every dive is different; you never know what you might find, or what interactio­ns you’ll have with creatures. I adored the mystery of it all.

Aged 18, I moved to San Diego, California, to study marine biology. Living on the Pacific coast with blue whales and sea lions, it was an incredible place to learn. I assisted professors, helping on scientific dives, and became interested in underwater filming. I love the fact you can communicat­e what’s happening in the ocean to people who can’t get down there. So, after working as an underwater photograph­er, I returned to the UK and completed an MA in wildlife filmmaking. The film I made on my course, My 25: The Ocean Between Us, about how the oceans have changed over generation­s, was part of an official selection at the Wildscreen film festival. That was an incredibly proud moment.

Since graduating, I have worked as a marine biologist, diver and wildlife filmmaker all over the world, from Indonesia to the Bahamas. I’m half Jamaican, so it was very special to work with the Alligator Head Foundation on a film about the marine protected area. They collaborat­ed with local fishermen to restore part of the ocean, while ensuring that their way of life and livelihood­s wouldn’t be affected.

I’m currently working as a researcher on a documentar­y series, which involves speaking to scientists about their work and reporting back to the editorial teams. It’s a fantastic combinatio­n of science and creativity.

While scuba diving, I am constantly aware of the issues facing our oceans. I’ve had many dives where all I’ve found are fishing lines wrapped around the reef. I’ve had dives where I’ve seen more plastic than marine life, which is infuriatin­g but doesn’t shock me any more. The fact this has become normal is perhaps the most shocking thing. It can be hard not to feel defeated. On every project, we’ll receive unbelievab­le levels of bad news. Sometimes it can feel as if no one is listening and I’m dedicating my life and energy to a lost cause. But I work with amazing people who are so passionate and that passion is infectious. Seeing the amount of plastic and destructio­n can be heartbreak­ing, but I still have hope.

I’ve had scuba dives where I’ve seen more plastic than marine life

I want to inspire the next generation to get involved. Through social media and school, I want young people, especially those from minority background­s, to see themselves represente­d and feel empowered to go into science. In order to solve the crises facing our seas, we all need to come together, and that means listening to voices from all over the globe. When young people tell me I have inspired them, it’s amazing.

Although it’s my job, diving is still the main way I switch off. Now, I live near Bristol and spend a lot of my time at the coast with my boyfriend, Rob, who dives, too. I get so much energy from being underwater. Exploring the oceans has brought me so much inspiratio­n and happiness, and I want all those beautiful ecosystems and coral reefs to be there for future generation­s. We’re losing wildlife at an alarming rate, but it’s not too late to save our seas.

For more about Inka, visit inkacressw­

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A hawksbill turtle in Indonesia

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