Mares goes to the Edges of Earth to transform online discourse with ocean good news

by   Profile Andi   When 14th March 2024
Photo Credit: Marla Tomorug
Photo Credit: Adam Moore
Photo Credit: Adam Moore
Photo Credit: Adam Moore
Photo Credit: Marla Tomorug
Photo Credit: Marla Tomorug
Photo Credit: Kaitlyn McQueeney

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. And unfortunately, its general discourse has become harder to stomach in recent years. I witnessed the birth of Facebook’s popularity when I was just in high school (after reluctantly migrating from the once great MySpace). It was the perfect way for us incoming college Freshman to connect with newfound friends—even before setting foot on campus. The experience was pure, wholesome, and honestly quite fun. To this day, I’ve made some of my best friends on those social platforms almost 20 years ago. 

But those are bygone days at this point. As the largest social media platforms developed, and ultimately monetized, they all started facing some major issues. You know the ones: privacy and data security, fake news and misinformation, online harassment and cyberbullying, content moderation and censorship, algorithmic bias and echo chambers, political manipulation and election interference, and the ethical quandaries arising from the very new use of AI. 

It’s now 2024, and online discourse continues to thrive as social media becomes more accessible and ingrained in even more societies around the world. For digital natives, social media is their “source of truth” and their primary way of consuming news. Their feeds dictate the way in which they see and interact with the world, and it’s not just one feed they interact with—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok are probably all more memorable brand names to Gen Z than any of the largest conventional news platforms. Unfortunately, no matter where you turn—be it social media or traditional news channels—they are all filled with doom and gloom reporting and storytelling. We’re pushed content about the hot new strains of pandemics, wars, recessions, worldwide political unrest, and a planet that is said to be in decline, well past the point of no return. When it comes to this endless cycle of downtrodden news feeds, it seems information is causing more harm than action. 

There are heavy-hitting statistics indicating that the next generation is deeply concerned about the climate change crisis and are actively looking for ways to address it. Youth are craving ways to contribute, leveraging any skill that they have, with the universal goal of getting their home back to a place of stability. 

A survey conducted by the United Nations in 2019 found that young people consider climate change as the top global issue affecting their lives, with 41% of respondents listing it as their biggest concern. According to a global survey by Amnesty International in 2020, more than two-thirds of young people aged 18-24 view climate change as a global emergency. The Global Shapers Annual Survey by the World Economic Forum in 2020 revealed that climate change and environmental degradation were the top concerns of the surveyed young people from around the world. 

But in youth’s search to find planetary solutions and a shred of optimism along the way, they can get caught up in the fear-based clickbait that’s constantly bombarding their social feeds (and ultimately taking over their frame of mind.)

Simply put: finding good news online requires searching, and can be hard to come by. 

We know that social media platforms are trying to take action to stop the spread of misinformation, harmful content and uncensored negativity. Methods like content moderation, fact-checking and warning labels, algorithm adjustments, reporting and flagging systems, along with partnerships with expert fact-checkers have been implemented (on some platforms). 

But perhaps there’s something us users and content creators can do about this too. What if we tried to take these digital natives back to the days when social media was positive, uplifting and a source of finding and maintaining friendship? What if we created more positive and good news content that has the power to circulate on social feeds? There are many accounts out there that focus on the positive, and guess what: they have high follower counts as well as solid engagement. So, why not create more of it? That’s why the Edges of Earth Expedition team is on a mission to create another source of good news. Our focus: positivity above and below the waterline. 

Our 24-month expedition is going to some of the most remote and interesting dive destinations on the planet to highlight positive ocean progress and impact. Given those heavy-hitting statistics I mentioned before, it’s clear that sharing more ocean and climate wins online is critical. There are so many people who have dedicated their life’s work to conserving, restoring and protecting our blue planet, and yet, so many of these stories go completely untold. Our mission is to change that. 

My team and I have spent our careers learning the ins-and-outs of the online world. Over the next two years, we’re taking this knowledge around  the world to help share compelling, inspiring and motivational stories from the frontlines of ocean conservation, science and diving. 

But it’s not just ocean good news we are highlighting—we’re also sharing how to explore the world more consciously. What is conscious exploration exactly? It means leaving these incredible paradises beneath the surface better than we found them. Using our skills for good not only at home, but wherever we visit. This can come in the form of volunteering professional services, diving alongside ocean experts to understand their work, or even just cleaning up a dive site. There are so many ways we can contribute and it doesn’t just involve spaces and places. It also can involve giving back to the communities that rely on the ocean for their livelihood—the communities that have welcomed so many of us to their forever homes. 

Our storytelling approach is designed to inject hope, positivity, and inspiration into the conversation, primarily focusing on those whose lives are deeply connected to the ocean. By highlighting the conservation and protection efforts individuals undertake right in their own 'front yards,' we aim to highlight potential career paths and ways to engage more actively with marine conservation, science and diving. Through relatable examples of how diverse people have successfully merged their professions, passions, and purposes, our goal is to empower those following along with the remarkable efforts being made worldwide to restore the planet.

That’s just our philosophy behind the stories we share—but there’s also the photography and videography component to our expedition work. Historically, filtered and flawless photography has been used to show us what lives below the waterline. It’s been a method to help open eyes, expand minds and alter our entire way of viewing the ocean. It’s been enormously successful in inspiring us to get out there and explore, but it’s been highly aspirational and hard to reach for many. 

Today, we need to shift our way of creating content to meet the needs of right now—getting as many people as possible out in the field fighting for this cause. We need to show what it’s really like to explore our blue planet, and stop editing our world. The gritty, honest and real side of diving is arguably more interesting, compelling and accessible than what meets the eye, and that’s what we aim to share every step of the way over the course of our two-year voyage—proving that it doesn’t matter who you are, there’s room for you in this conversation. 

In teaming up with Mares, we are able to dive the tropics to tundras, outfitting us with the necessary gear to successfully complete a dive expedition around the globe. Together, we’re going to all seven continents, 40 countries, 150 locations and meeting countless local legends who have been the reason why we still have places left in this world to dive. 

By helping these people share their incredible life’s work, we aim to open your eyes in a new way, reminding you that it’s entirely possible to blend profession, passion and purpose, and it’s officially time for the online world to see way more of this content. From both Mares and our expedition team: we hope that by taking you to the edges of earth, you can see there’s opportunity to make a difference all around you. 

Written by
Profile Andi
When 14th March 2024
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Also by Andi