The book, Be a Wave Maker, features the real-life stories of 24 bold individuals and their positive initiatives to protect our oceans.

The "Be a Waver Maker" book.

Aiming to inspiring teens and adults who are kids at heart, the book features positive stories from across the word on topics like bycatch and illegal fishing, marine noise pollution, plastics, the deep ocean and of course seagrass meadows.

Benjamin Jones.

Here are some questions for PhD Benjamin Jones, about his participation in the book:

Why is it valuable for teenagers to read this book?

We need awareness of biodiversity loss, climate change and the threats that face our planet, but I think that the constant stream of negative stories in some ways hinders progress. Too much negativity creates burden, and feelings of hopelessness – those feelings that there isn’t anything we can really do to bring about change. This book counters that by providing bite sized stories of positivity. Stories about change that have been brought about by single individuals that hopefully show teenagers that their small actions can have big reactions.

What change do you aspire to bring about?

I guess with my story, it’s about following passion. Everyone is passionate about something, be it bird watching, gardening or old movies. For me its seagrass and in this book I talked about a favorite quote of mine that drives home the idea that we only conserve what love, only love what we understand, and only understand what we are taught. I want teenagers to read my story and turn their passion into a goal – and of course that doesn’t have to be about the ocean, it can be anything in life.

What is the one major thing you want teenagers these days to know about the ocean?

We often hear that that rainforests are the lungs of the Earth, providing us with most of our oxygen. While it is true that rainforests produce oxygen, up to a quarter of atmospheric oxygen, most of it is actually consumed by the rainforests themselves by degradation of organic matter. Most of our atmospheric oxygen actually comes from the oceans. So really, it’s the oceans that are the lungs of the planet, and our very lives depend on health seas.

Snap shots of the book.

What is PhD project about and how does it fit into your story?

My PhD is not dissimilar to my story in this book. It’s about peoples place in the environment - connecting people to nature. I study seagrass meadows from a social-ecological systems perspective where I value people as part of nature and not apart from it. I specifically look at the food benefits and livelihood support that seagrass meadows provide people (e.g., ecosystem services) and how the characteristics of these same people influence dependence on these benefits (e.g., poverty).

What inspired you to become a marine biologist?

It’s funny that my story is featured in a book about marine conservation, since that is where my desire to become a marine biologist came from. At about age 7-8 I remember reading The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau books that I’d found in my grandparents’ attic. I remember being fascinated by the images of the deep ocean and coral reefs, but also of our historic oceans. Every Sunday I would go to the beach and look for fossil Ammonites from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period and I’ve been fascinated by the past and present oceans ever since.

Have you ever seen a visible connection to the sea in an individual?

For part of research, I use underwater cameras to record fish life within seagrass meadows. My research has taken me to some pretty remote places in low-income countries such as the Myeik Archipelago in Myanmar. This Archipelago is home to an ethnic group of sea gypsies, a seafaring tribe called the Moken who spend 6 months of the year at sea as a family fishing. I remember showing a group of young children the fish videos I’d collected across the Archipelago and hearing them burst out in laugher and joy while shouting the local names of each fish they saw in the video. It wasn’t just one or two fish that they recognized and could name - it was all of them. Knowledge at such a young age comes from their deep connection to the ocean and it’s something that we really miss in our societies.

An inspirational book that introduces you to bold ocean lovers and their bold positive initiatives to protect our oceans. The stories are accompanied by beautifully handmade illustrations, photographs, and graphics to help bring the stories alive. You can purchase the book here to read Ben’s story and others.