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Natalie Prinz's story - Youth4Ocean Forum Founding Member

Published on: Sat, 26/09/2020 - 00:16
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    Here are a few words from Natalie Prinz, All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador and founding member of the Youth4Ocean Forum.

    Longing, Life, and Literature

     

    The ocean is a part of me.

    And this is a sentence so many of us can say, because we feel connected to this vast body of water in often inexplicable ways. Not only do we really originate out of the depths and the physio-chemical mixtures of ocean waters, but we can also feel that life is bound to it ever since life started to exist. It is incredible for me to think how all processes on our planet are connected to the over 70% of saltwater that makes our planet blue. 

    This feeling of connection has been so big for as far as I can remember, that I wanted to study the ocean and understand it better. Marine Science was the path I chose when I was a little child and still I am convinced that this “thirst” in learning about ocean-processes will never be stilled. What exactly it is that makes me so focused, I cannot explain. Probably, being raised partly onboard of ships, I had the chance to learn from early on, that the ocean is a part of my life that cannot be ignored.

    The scientific approach to learning and studying the ocean brings with it a lot of commitment. When my time as an undergraduate finished, the material was not anymore concisely presented in digestible chunks. The question, what exactly to study had to be considered and the answer “I am interested in everything about the sea from the poles to the tropics” did not suffice anymore. After working in many of those areas, from temperate rocky shores and intertidal tropical waters in Western Australia, on a research vessel in the Arctic to the coral reefs in the South Pacific and the Red Sea, life brought me to the estuarine sandflats of New Zealand. My interest in marine animals as well as marine pollution of human-made waste has never ceased, but now I will focus on solutions of how we, as researchers, can restore degraded ecosystems. It will be a challenge for me to start a PhD in a field that I have not studied much before, but I know that learning about it will greatly enhance the respect and the understanding for another part of Earth’s intertwined ecosystems. 

    I think one thing is most important: to engage for what you are passionate about. And all along I want to make sure that the science about our ocean is heard. Being part of the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors and the Youth4Ocean Forum gave me the initial push to reach out for what I want to study and protect. Sharing our knowledge globally is incredibly important in order to connect to people around us, who share the same interest or feel the same emotions, to eventually make a difference. Humans still have the chance to be guardians of the ocean and instead of being the reason for its slow degradation. But for that we need to act now. And this is something worth fighting for. This is something worth dedicating a life goal to.

    Let’s do it together.