Michael worked as a navigator and engineer in the merchant navy and then as a diver in the South African Navy during national service.
After this, from 1990 to 1991, he worked as a wilderness guide on the Orange River in Namibia and then as a lifeguard on the Durban Beachfront where he lived until 2008. As a lifeguard he worked with law enforcement to deal with crime and social issues in the beachfront area. Having worked as a wilderness guide it seemed that connecting to nature was an important part of finding a way forward when dealing with people struggling with life in the city.
Michael linked with guides from the Wilderness Leadership School to develop marine wilderness ideas and was encouraged by Dr Player and others.
In 2008 he moved to Cape Town where he worked as an environmental educator for the Save Our Seas Foundation and the KELP Project developing marine wilderness outings into wild areas along the coast combined with surfing lessons, environmental education, kelp painting and other exercises.
Working with various groups but largely young people from disadvantaged communities he received a strong response and this became a practical way of encouraging people of all backgrounds and cultures to see the importance of keeping these natural areas unspoilt for future generations.
Michael talked at the GWC 2011 and since then has been working independently to take things forward. Since 2012 he has been working in Cornwall during the UK summers as a lifeguard and has linked with international groups including DSWF, SAS and Cornwall College, Newquay.
In South Africa he has linked with Amakhala Game Reserve, Rhodes University and wilderness specialists connected to the surfing world.
He is currently putting international students in touch with people running respectable projects in SA where students can become involved with SA conservation work. It is hoped that this will lead to more involvement from the international community in finding real solutions to some of the serious problems unfolding in South Africa.
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About the speaker
Michael Carnegie is a South African born artist, marine conservationist and environmental educator. Growing up in a family of conservationists he has been conscious of South African conservation problems from a young age and has become increasingly involved in trying to help find real solutions.