Right now, our oceans are under massive threat. From climate change to unsustainable fishing practices, harmful human actions are creating devastating effects on marine wildlife.
Oceans absorb over 30% of CO2 produced by humans and supply half the oxygen we breathe each day. However, increased atmospheric CO2 has been causing oceans to acidify, warm to unprecedented temperatures, and ultimately, lose oxygen.
A study conducted by the UN expects an estimated 100-150% rise in ocean acidity by 2100, affecting all life underwater if we do not take proper marine conservation actions. These worsening ocean conditions are devastating to all marine wildlife – from sea turtles to coral reefs – and ultimately threaten their future. Marine conservation is essential to protect sea life from disastrous outcomes.
But it’s not just marine life that relies on oceans for survival. Over 3 billion people worldwide depend on healthy marine ecosystems to live year-round. Many of these people live in Africa, where, as of 2015, 31% of the total population lived in low elevation coastal areas.
Local communities rely on healthy oceans for their livelihoods and job security. Industries like marine eco-tourism provide locals jobs in these communities but depend on healthy marine environments to be successful.
Future generations’ ability to enjoy the stunning marine environments we know today relies heavily on the actions we take now. Marine conservation volunteer programs are an incredible way to get involved in preserving our ocean’s health and protecting the beautiful sea life that call it home. With scuba diving volunteer opportunities, ocean cleanups, coral reef conservation and more, the work you do as a marine conservation volunteer abroad will produce long-term impacts on the future of ocean ecosystems.
Are you interested in diving into marine conservation volunteering? Here are a few ways you can volunteer in marine conservation efforts on one of our volunteer abroad programs!
Ocean conservation volunteers can get involved in conservation projects by participating in exhilarating research dives! On each scuba dive, volunteers record important information that helps monitor marine life populations, marine species’ biodiversity, and coral reefs’ health.
To do our part in combating ocean pollution, many of our marine conservation programs provide volunteer opportunities to get involved in local beach cleanups! As a marine conservation volunteer, this is a rewarding opportunity to collaborate with your placement’s local community to combat ocean pollution.
Cage dive with Great White Sharks on our Great White Conservation Project in South Africa. Swim alongside playful dolphins on our Dolphin Research and Marine Conservation Program in Zanzibar. Scuba dive with peaceful sea turtles along beautiful coral reefs on our Marine Research and Conservation Program in Mozambique. Among many other marine volunteering programs at African Impact, these projects are exciting opportunities to become directly involved in marine conservation campaigns that seek to protect the wildlife that calls our oceans home.
Community education and engagement are critical to sustainable marine conservation efforts. Most of our marine conservation programs have volunteer opportunities to take part in conservation efforts with members of local communities. From teaching the importance of marine conservation in schools to attending community conservation events, collaborating with locals is an invaluable volunteer experience.
Marine conservationists are the incredible scientists who work directly in the field of, you guessed it, marine conservation! Their work is instrumental for achieving global and regional aquatic preservation goals from initiatives that focus on sea turtle conservation to coral reef protection.
In alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water, marine conservationists’ work focuses on promoting sustainable use of our oceans. Using our oceans in a sustainable and ecologically conscious way means life underwater can thrive, benefitting both marine species and our global human population.
Generally, marine conservationists’ work focuses on the following goals:
Within these broad goals, work is varied. It can consist of scuba diving to monitor coral reef conservation, working with a marine non-profit organization, or more regionally specific tasks, like participating in sea turtle conservation in South Africa. Marine conservation is a diverse field filled with many unique work opportunities!
Typically, marine conservationists have a degree in marine biology, oceanography or a relevant field. However, you do not need a degree in marine conservation to work with marine conservationists! Many volunteer programs, like our marine conservation volunteer abroad programs at African Impact, don’t require formal education in this field. Conservation volunteering is an incredible way to get involved in this exciting career!
When volunteers join us for a marine conservation volunteering adventure, we take them through an intensive training program on-site. Here, participants learn about their project placement and prepare for the responsibilities they’ll have as a conservation volunteer. During marine conservation projects, volunteers work directly with teams made up of marine conservationists and researchers. Here, as an ocean conservation volunteer, you can contribute and collaborate with trained professionals on conservation projects and community initiatives.
From the United States to New Zealand, many universities across the world offer programs in marine conservation. However, if you are interested in learning about marine conservation outside of an academic setting, joining a volunteer conservation project is one of the best ways to gain valuable experience in this exciting field!
Our marine conservation volunteer programs create the following opportunities for experiential learning: