Diony Lalieu

I am mother, I am ocean.

I am a giver and taker of life.

I decide who eats, who breathes, who plays and who is taken away.

And I will continue to do so, way past when you are nothing but a blink in the celestial sky.

I am gentle and embracing, accommodating and forgiving.

Yet I can be cold and cruel: your memory is not required to sustain me.

I have provided abundance and life for an eternity.

Rains for the crops, temperate climates for humanity, infinite breading grounds that sustain the origin of all life forms, including yours.

Yet, now, I am suffering, I am choking.

My lungs are collapsing under the strain of micro plastics that are slowly becoming my new bedrock.

Strange foreign particles threaten the delicate life-chains I have put into place.

And my children are disappearing by the multitude, by the species, sometimes in bloodied massacres.

My waters are murky, clouded with human troubles and affluence.

I am being raped.

I am being pillaged.

I stand by, as your mother, watching patiently how you are slowly sapping away your own life force.

And I will continue to watch your genocide.

Until you realize that I am you. And I am all you have.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is not too late….

Diony Lalieu

I am a market researcher with a Master’s degree in Research Psychology. My professional interest lies in understanding consumer psychology. Over the past 14 years I have worked for multitudes of large corporate brands and I am overwhelmed by the relentlessness of consumerism and the draining impact it has on our planet.

Of concern for me is the prevailing mindset around plastic (i.e. ‘plastic packaging is tantamount to a quality product’) and its impact on marine, especially that of the single-use variety. For me, this is one of the major barriers to cleaner oceans (along with infrastructure of course). For this reason, I consulted with WWF, advising on how to implement a research project that explores both consumer and restaurant owners’ attitudes, behaviours and willingness to implement change around the use of single-use plastic.

I believe that as a researcher with a real passion for the ocean, my work can uncover insights into what makes consumers tick and in so doing, come to understand better the solutions that will have an impact in changing current attitudes as well as how best to communicate that to the public.

As an Ocean Watch Ambassador, I propose to raise awareness through sharing insights garnered both through consumer research as well as collaborative learnings from marine-centric communities locally and abroad. These insights will be relayed both formally as well as informally using different platforms (e.g. digital media, radio, surfing events, a formal research presentation that can be circulated). A high-level plan will need to be agreed to by the committee and what they wish to achieve from these objectives.

On a personal level, this amazing opportunity to be an Ocean Watch Ambassador not only evokes an amazing sense of purpose but also strengthens my profile as conservation-oriented researcher.

As a Capetonian I am blessed with the best of all worlds. When I am not surrendering my soul to my longboard, you will find me skipping atop the mountains, often with my kids in tow. My passion is surfing, travel, hiking all around our beautiful country, writing and interacting with different cultures.

Like the ocean, I too am a mother. And as a mother, I believe in nature as a source of parental guidance. In our family nature is our hobby, our religion and our way of life. For me as a parent it is crucial that my children cultivate a love and deep respect for the planet. As a current custodian on this earth, it is my duty to ensure, to the best of my ability, that I can hand over a planet as beautiful as the one I was birthed in.