Building on the Mediterranean’s rich cultural identity, this season we will be multi-lingual featuring stories in French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. To capture these voices, we have new hosts on board that help us dive into these new perspectives and communities.
In this episode, we will introduce our new hosts and navigate together the first waters of this season, learning more about the people behind the voices. What is their relationship with the sea? What makes the Mediterranean special? What stories will they uncover?
Listen to this brief introduction to the new season and get excited to set sails with our hosts. The Mediterranean Sea truly is full of inspiration and untapped potential. It is time that we listen to it!
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Find out more at www.eu-oceanliteracy.eu and connect using #EU4Ocean and #IfOceansCouldSpeak
[00:00:00] Jen: Hello, and welcome back. Stefan and I are super excited to share that if oceans could speak is returning for a second season. Just to recap, we really believe that everybody who loves to sea has a story to share. In season one, we had some amazing conversations on the Arctic Ocean. Some were professional, some were deeply personal, but they always brought a deep passion for the sea, its environment, and the people living there. Stefan, what did you take away from the first season?
[00:00:28] Stefan: Most of all, it was the love for the sea that is shared by people from so many different backgrounds. There is something about the sea that really touches people, not just those who live close to the sea. One of our guests in the first season, Dr. Tymon Zielinski said that we all live by the sea, no matter how far from the sea you live, because every activity we have, no matter where you are, you either affect the ocean or you depend on the ocean. I believe Tymon's right and this is also great summary of the take away from the first season of if oceans could speak.
We are all connected to the sea. In this season, we are leaving the Arctic and we are heading south to the Mediterranean Sea. I'm sure we all have ideas of the Mediterranean, from ancient history to modern tourism to the plight of refugees. The Mediterranean means so much to so many people in this season, we get to hear from people for whom the Med is home, scientists, experts from different fields, sailors, artists, activists, they all share their stories about this incredibly important and iconic sea.
[00:01:28] Jen: Yes, the Mediterranean for me, it brings ideas of holidays and sun and just relaxing. So I am really excited about this season. And actually we're going to try something a little bit different because we were inspired by the rich cultures and identities of the Mediterranean region. We thought it would be really great to capture this in our episodes.
Plus we really wanted to reach as many audiences as possible. So in this season, our episodes will be hosted in the different languages spoken around the Mediterranean.
[00:01:57] Stefan: And it's not just that we want to reach more listeners. We also want to highlight a characteristic of the social role of the sea - that connects us more than it separates us. There's a lot to look forward to in this new season of if oceans could speak.
[00:02:11] Jen: Now, of course, Stephan and I don't speak all of these languages, unfortunately. So to aid us in our quest, we have recruited some new moderators that are going to help us reach different corners of the Mediterranean.
[00:02:23] Stefan: Yes we can say hello to them now.
Francisco, Vera, Anna-Maria and Pierre. Welcome on board. Francisco López Castejón will be hosting our Spanish episodes. Francisco is an oceanographer with more than 20 years of experience on oceanographic research for companies and for research institutions, he loves outreach activities related to the sea, and is the founder of the Cartagena Oceanographic Research Institute, an the NGO that's focused on the use of technology as a way to engage people in ocean exploration and ocean protection.
Now Francisco, tell us more about your Mediterranean story. What inspired your love for the ocean?
[00:03:00] Francisco: Thanks for inviting me. Hey, I have always lived in cities, near the sea; Cartajena, Cadiz, Barcelona. So all my memories in a way, or in another are linked to the Mediterranean Sea. But what really inspire my love for the ocean is exploration.
We used to think in the space when we talk about exploring frontiers, but the oceans remain nearly unexplored. Nowadays thanks to the technology, our knowledge is growing day by day, and that's amazing because only by showing the wonder of the ocean to the people will we be able to involve them in its protection.
[00:03:35] Jen: Fantastic. And without telling us too much, what kind of perspectives are you going to be sharing in your episode?
[00:03:41] Francisco: Thanks to our guests, I will bring a perspective usually forgotten when we talk about the ocean and it's the women perspective, what challenge must they face? What are the situations when we talk about marine jobs or oceanographic research? Or what are we doing nowadays to highlight the work done by a lot of women in oceanography. We will talk with Maria Del Carmen, director of the Spanish Oceanographic Institute in Malaga, and part of a really amazing project called Oceanicas. A lot of very interesting subjects came out during the interview from her connection to the Mediterranean Sea, her career, and of course about the Oceanicas project.
[00:04:19] Stefan: Our next new moderator is Vera Noon, Vera Noon will be covering the Arabic Lebanese episodes. Vera is from Lebanon. She's lived in seven countries throughout her life learning many Mediterranean languages in the process. For over a decade, she surfed the waves of spatial planning, starting with architecture and urban design and all the way to maritime spatial planning. She has a passion for the natural and culture Marine heritage of the Mediterranean Sea, and aims to use her technical and artistic skills to help flourish again. Vera, tell us a bit about your relationship with the sea. Do you have a favorite memory, favorite story, or experience from the Mediterranean Sea that you would like to share?
[00:04:59] Vera: Thank you, Stefan. And thank you for having me. Well, in my case, unlike many of the persons who work in Marine fields and our moderators, I was not born and raised by the sea. In fact, it's the complete opposite - I was born and raised in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia. And it wasn't until I was 16 that I met the sea. There were mainly two things that marked me and guided my career. First, it was my first snorkelling experience in an underwater cave in north of Lebanon. As you know, in the Mediterranean, we have plenty of reefs on our coast, and I was completely stunned and mesmerized by all the colorful forest that were below and the biodiversity. Another thing that influenced me was being exposed to all the archeological heritage of our millennial coastal cities, the sandstone castles, the ancient harbors, the historical Salina. And throughout the years, what mark me most is the striking similarities that I found along the Mediterranean coasts, the scenic landscapes and seascapes of the carsic limestone, red tile roofs, the pine trees, the posidonia Meadows. and of course the food, the music and the languages that flow harmoniously together and creates the wonderful heritage that is the Mediterranean. So as a result, I dedicated my career to preserve and enhance both the cultural and natural heritage of the Mediterranean.
[00:06:20] Jen: Thank you for sharing that I can absolutely relate to that snorkeling experience! Vera you're going to take us on a journey to the Southern Mediterranean. Briefly, what perspectives will we uncover in your episodes?
[00:06:31] Vera: Well, the thing about the south Mediterranean is that it is often associated with negative events. So conflicts, poverty, pollution what I am proud to say about the two episodes that I hosted is that they highlighted a completely different dimension; the amount of positivity and hope that surfaced at hard times, the light that shines amid the chaos, that is the Mediterranean. Also the persistence and dedication that both the young people and older generations were able to have despite the difficult times, and particularly in Lebanon, as we're going through a very harsh crisis, it made me feel a tiny bit more hopeful, and I'm sure the listeners will share this feeling.
[00:07:09] Jen: Amazing. Thank you. So next is Anna Maria Marino who will cover for us the Italian episode. Anna is liaison officer on Arctic, Oceans and Youth at Environment Europe, the largest pan European network of youth led environmental NGOs. Her role is to help the organization's advocacy in the context of EU and international decision making with participation in the recent cop 26 conference and coordinating the BBNJ youth network. Welcome Anna Maria.
[00:07:37] Anna-Maria: Thank you so much.
[00:07:39] Jen: You work a lot with youth-led organizations and initiatives, and I wondered if you could tell us why these are so important for the future of the Mediterranean?
[00:07:47] Anna-Maria: Every time that I think about how young people organize for environmental issues to tackle environmental issues I think I'm always overwhelmed by the ability of young people to form communities and to really help each other. And of course, by their passion to do things and to tackle certain issues that can sometimes bring you down and be quite overwhelming in a negative sense, but rather to tackle them with creativity and really with a, with a positive spirit.
So I think that that's also what motivates me a lot in continuing this journey of working with youth for youth and as a young person. And of course, part of my passion is also given by working with the youth4Ocean forum. Because I think that the youth4Ocean forum is a great opportunity for networking with other young people that have projects going on and many of them have carried out amazing projects of ocean conservation, as well as ocean literacy, completely dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea. So I'm really hopeful for this generation and also the generations to come.
[00:09:01] Jen: Amazing that motivation is really inspiring and, and, and it catches on really, really easily. So tell us a bit about your episode, where is it going to take us?
[00:09:10] Anna-Maria: So my episode that was recorded in Italian will bring us to the coast of Italy. And more specifically, we will talk about what happens between the coast of Liguria and Emilia-Romagna, where the activities of the sustainable food project coordinated by Stefano Pedone through Worldrise association and the kitchen of the chef Mattia Borroni are located. It was a great opportunity to understand how the love for the ocean originated for both guests, which were quite singular and quite different because then even though the love of the ocean and the passion for the ocean and the Mediterranean sea, of course from both guests is very strong and of course this is reflected in their activities.
But of course they took two different ways and they expressed and realized in two different ways, because for example, Stefanao Pedone is a Marine biologist and Mattia Borroni is a chef who is involved in the sustainable food project. So, another important element of this episode will be to understand the role of sustainable fisheries, small scale fisheries, and the relationship between the small scale fishermen, the cooks and Worldrise association as well, which is an environmental NGO. So it is, I think it is very interesting to see how this three levels were brought together. And it, it was very interesting to see how innovation in the cuisine of Mattia Borroni, for example, can bring you back to tradition and this will allow you to be more sustainable in your practices and consumption.
[00:11:01] Stefan: Thanks a lot, Anna Maria. Last but not least we have with us Pierre Strosser who will host our French episode. Pierre works for ACTeon, a French research consultancy, supporting ecological and climate transition in Europe, coordinating the EU4Ocean coalition, from which this podcast series, if oceans could speak has emerged. Pierre you and ACTeon are based in Colmar, which is pretty far away from the sea yet you work on ocean literacy and on governance projects. What sparked this interest in the ocean and what keeps you motivated to champion this cause?
[00:11:33] Pierre: If you listen to the old fairy tales you will hear effectively about fishes, pirates, sometimes mermaids or Atlantis. And the same applies if you discuss with marine scientists that will often associate working around the ocean and for the oceans to working on the coast. So it's probably a big mistake because wherever you are, in fact, you are concerned with the oceans. Let's say we here in Colmar, we eat, we use, we buy, we do many things that directly or indirectly will impact the ocean. So in fact, the oceans and the ecological transition that is required to protect it, start in Colmar and not on the sea itself.
[00:12:25] Stefan: Without telling us too much what story would you be uncovering in your episode?
[00:12:30] Pierre: If you are interested to know how you can listen to the oceans with a camera. Just come and listen to Greg Leceour, he's a photo journalist and he will share about his work, his experiences, his emotions, and his commitment to the ocean. He's particularly committed to the ocean in general, but also to the Mediterranean Sea.
It's his native sea. And he will have much to tell to ensure that the Mediterranean is not forgotten. Often people speak about the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, but the Mediterranean is still essential, both for people and for biodiversity. So please come to listen to him.
[00:13:16] Stefan: Thanks so much.
[00:13:17] Jen: So that's it. This is our team and together across many languages, we will be bringing you the second season of if oceans could speak. I hope you've enjoyed this short introduction to what we've got lined up
[00:13:28] Stefan: And as always, you can find us wherever you listen to your podcast and your phone, or other device. And every episode will be transcribed to support an inclusive listenership like we already did in the first season of if oceans could speak. We can't wait to explore the Mediterranean with our colleagues and guests, and most of all together with our listeners from around Europe and from around the world.
[00:13:49] Jen: This podcast was brought to you by members of the EU4Ocean coalition and was made by the If Oceans Could Speak production team. Led by Anna Saito, co-organised by Penny Clarke and Arne Riedel, and presented and edited by Stefan Kirchner, Vera Noon, Agness Nohra, Anna Maria Marino, Pierre Strosser, Francisco Lopez Castejon, and me, Jen Freer. Thank you for listening. We will be back next week with a new story from the Mediterranean and this episode will be with Stefan and I in English. So, if the Oceans had a voice, what would it say to you?