Find Your Niche in Conservation

Filling a gap

Positive Change for Marine Life is a marine conservation organization based in Byron Bay and Brisbane, Australia. Their slogan ‘paving the path to change through understanding, education, and respect’ comes from their desire to work with communities and create viable economic alternatives to inhumane and unsustainable marine industries. Their campaigns cover a broad range of areas from the mitigation of marine debris to marine fauna conservation to global partnerships that address environmental issues in developing countries.

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Positive Change for Marine Life partnered with Rocinha Surfe Escola in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to implement education programs to decrease marine debris. Photo credit: Positive Change for Marine Life.

Positive Change for Marine Life was founded by Karl Goodsell after he realized the importance of working with and empowering local communities to effectively achieve conservation objectives. The idea dawned on Karl while he was working on a conservation project that wasn’t realizing its full potential, so he decided to try something new. I saw that the most obvious thing to do to address the underlying conservation issue was to approach and respect the local community and create positive change through them”.

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SYAH Seychelles participating in Positive Change for Marine Life’s Marine Debris Challenge. Photo credit: SYAH- Seychelles.

He communicated his idea through a social media platform and funding started pouring in to support him. What started out as an innovative idea to address a complex conservation issue quickly turned into a non-profit marine conservation organization that has contributed towards environmental conservation internationally.

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Careers Advice

When asked what has enabled Karl to be successful in the conservation world he emphasized the need to find your niche and that it’s important to be determined and passionate about the environment”. Also don’t forget that people are part of nature too and need to be treated with respect if you want to see successful outcomes for conservation”.

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Karl believes that people skills, an outgoing personality, and the willingness to put yourself out there and take risks are the most valuable attributes needed for a career in conservation. Always explore new opportunities and don’t get stuck in one field or just invest your time solely in university. Seek out as many opportunities as possible to build up a wide skillset.”

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Community members of Brisbane sign Positive Change for Marine Life’s petition to stop shark finning. Photo credit: Bec Russo.

As far as what Positive Change for Marine Life looks for in their staff and volunteers, Karl highlighted the importance of the interviewing process. Interviews are very important as anyone can write a good resume, but many who have good resumes under deliver. People who stand out in interviews are ones that ask questions, expand on what has been asked and have a thorough knowledge of the organization as it shows initiative and that they’ve done their research.

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Karl’s advice for aspiring conservationists – Think outside the square and set your own course. Be willing to take risks and create your own opportunities. Be adaptable. Set your mind to it, work incredibly hard and you will achieve what you set out to.”

For more information on Karl Goodsell and Positive Change for Marine Life check out their website at pcfml.org.au or follow them on social media at http://www.facebook.com/positivechangeformarinelife/.

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