I had the privilege and pleasure yesterday of attending the National Junior SeaLife Conference in Birmingham UK. The conference brought together nine of the UK's most outstanding young advocates and scientists. In a range of presentations which spanned issues as diverse as bycatch and shark finning; the destruction of seals as scapegoats for over fishing; the conservation of coral reefs and the protection of cetaceans, we had some of the most imaginative demonstrations of the power of idealism and advocacy.
I was moved by the passion that these young people brought to the debates and the conviction by which they made their cases. As NGOs we regularly deal with governments and scientists, but the cynicism that we often encounter means that our drive to make change happen is often dented by the intractability of those who want nothing but the 'status quo'. It is so refreshing to hear the articulation of the vision of a world where real conservation and protection is envisaged.
All the entries were great but I wish to single out two of the presentations that tackled the issue of the conservation of whales and dolphins. Abigale Rudland told us about the ecology and threats to the beautiful Beluga whale, and Molly Clayton gave an informed presentation on whales and whaling.
I was really proud of both of the young women and their presentations reminded me of why its so important to keep up the work we are doing.
Well done guys and well done SeaLife for a great event.
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