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Maritime Forum

Olivia Garcia's story - Youth4Ocean Forum Founding Member

Meet Olivia Garcia, founding member of the european Youth4Ocean Forum and volunteer for Surfrider Foundation Europe.


I grew up on the Mediterranean coast.

Enjoying the shore is unique - the movement of the waves seem to be taking away your concerns, bringing peace, calm, and well-being.

The many, many times I have looked at the sea during the years, I have visualized a frontier between two worlds, so close yet so far apart: the on land world that we (try to) master, and the underwater world, a fascinating mystery. Why do we sometimes forget that the ocean is the main body on Earth ? It is the main source of oxygen, this tiny molecule at the basis of the biologic chain that provides our living cells with energy - and yet, we know so little about it. Most of its biodiversity is yet to be discovered. However, so many of us feel connected to it in an inexplicable way. It gives us food and work. It is home to an extraordinary amount of living beings. It brings us happiness. These are more than sufficient reasons to respect and protect it rather than being the source of its decay. Our futures are undeniably linked.

Enjoying the shores freely, swimming in clear waters, observing a variety of wildlife, playing, discovering….For years I would take all of this for granted. The ocean is so huge, ancient, powerful, and I thought it would be the way it is forever. But our generation had to grow up discovering the many, many issues it is facing, realizing it is often not treated as something precious but as a disposable resource for our society to exploit to the limit - but by doing so, it is now crystal clear that we are actually jeopardizing ourselves.

As a young human, I am still a part of nature. Above all, I have the ability to speak, to tell stories, to travel, meet people, dive and learn more about this entity on my planet to which I feel so deeply connected to. At least I can be a voice for the ocean - a voice for nature and wildlife - for sharks and posidonia. I want to share what I learn and what I see so that one day, we all feel this same sense of belonging, the same sense of responsibility. Let's promote ocean literacy together and better things will happen.

I got a bit closer to my objective by joining the Surfrider Foundation Europe last year and more recently founding the Youth4Ocean forum alongside all those inspiring other young people. Freshly graduated in environmental science and pollution, I am heading to South America and Asia to accomplish a series of volunteer work in the ocean and environment field, before initiating a degree in marine science - and I hope I’ll be meeting a lot more of them. I know that we, the youth, have the power to influence the future, because we are the future.

If you also feel it, you can join us - or do whatever makes you feel like you are contributing to a better world. There is no small action: even the simplest ones can have a big impact. You can inspire others like they have inspired you, because you have a voice, and it matters, even if you are a small human.

Let's create the future we want.