Vision for the Ocean, Daisy Vasanthakumar, SAS Rep

This blog is part of our ‘Vision for the Ocean’ series.

Launched on World Ocean Day, the series showcases inspirational stories of people and organisations who are seeking to protect the ocean and all it makes possible. We’re proud to call all these ocean lovers our friends and our partners in the fight for our blue planet.

By working together, we can achieve a thriving ocean, thriving people.

Daisy is one of our Regional Reps for Brighton and a committed Ocean Activist. We caught up with Daisy to get her views on Ocean Activism and the hope she has for the ocean’s future.

Hi Daisy! Can you tell what Ocean Activism really means to you?

When thinking of Ocean Activism I like to think of this quote I love from my favourite book, Braiding Sweetgrass:

‘It’s not just land that is broken, but more importantly, our relationship to land.’ It’s the same for the ocean as well.

It’s in our nature to protect, to show the same compassion to animals and nature that we do for people.

I like to use my Ocean Activism to reconnect others to that same magic we felt when we were young- there’s something so powerful about looking back at ourselves when we were younger. 

What have you been doing in Brighton and Hove, as an SAS Rep, to speak out for the ocean?

It was five years ago, when I moved to Brighton, that I stumbled upon an SAS beach clean on Facebook and decided to venture to it.

I loved it and felt like I was a part of a like-minded community who was doing their bit to help protect our fellow wildlife and beaches.

Since then, I feel like I’ve connected with people living in Brighton, learned about the particular issues we face and found ways to create change and protect and understand the ocean. Through beach cleans mostly, but also with protests, education work with schools and implementing changes in my everyday life and at work. And it’s working.

Using my words, photography and experiences to create a safe space, I’m building a community where we can share knowledge, set up beach cleans, fight back against big companies through demos and marches – and learn about the issues we face in Brighton and Hove.

What are your hopes for the ocean and your vision of its future?

It’s incredible how the ocean covers 70% of the world’s surface, yet most of it is unexplored. It is a gift to us that we must protect at all costs.

We all know that rising sea temperatures due to global warming have a detrimental impact on our ocean and marine life. That’s why residents and grassroots groups are getting organised to demand government action. We need more of this!

Scientists are now also telling us that fish are sentient beings, with the capacity to feel pain, fear and affection. More and more people are shifting to a plant based diet because they recognize that fish and the oceans are critical to the planet’s health.

The ocean is an intricate ecosystem that thrives best without human intervention, when we mess with it, there is an imbalance.

Let’s stop the fish farming.

I think the biggest hope is the elimination of plastics from our seas: so yes to more beach cleans. But stopping the production and use of single plastics at the source is even better. There’s huge pressure on big companies to halt plastic use, let’s keep it up.

Our oceans should also be a place where we can enjoy swimming without being scared of a sewage pollution outflow. We need water companies to take ownership, notify users all year around, and eliminate all sewage spills from our ocean .

I really think it’s our duty as fellow citizens to protect what has been gifted to us in the short time we are on the planet.

The SAS Chapter Network is made up of 230 individuals acting as the voice of SAS in their communities. Based all across the UK, these Regional Reps are our boots on the ground, a voice for the ocean and the first line of defence against the myriad issues our environment is facing.

In reality, however, they are so much more. They are Ocean Activists in their own right. They lead campaigns and challenge politicians. They educate younger generations and organise cleans. They are leaders, activists, mobilisers, communicators and they create real and tangible change in their regions and far beyond. They are more than Regional Reps – and we are always in awe of the amazing work they accomplish.