About This Week’s Guest

Naomi Edwards

Naomi Edwards is a passionate community advocate, who is committed to community-led environmental care programs. She currently works on coastal fisheries management change in Melanesia, and lives in the Gold Coast Hinterland on Yugambeh Country.

This week on Saltwater Library Naomi Edwards talks about how the lived experiences of people coastal professionals impact decision making in coastal management.

Discussed in this Episode

  • Coastal management
  • Beaches
  • Community organisations
  • Decision making
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Marine and coastal sciences
  • The importance of diversity
  • Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering
  • Passion

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Rebecca Olive: Hello, and welcome to Saltwater Library, a podcast about our relationships to coasts and oceans.

The Saltwater Library team acknowledges the Jaggera and Turrbal people as the traditional owners of the land and waterways where this podcast is produced. We acknowledge their elders and ancestors, their young people, and recognize their sovereignty was never ceded.

I’m Rebecca Olive and I research ocean sports and physical activities like swimming surfing and sailing. I’m interested in how these spots shape our relationships to coast and oceans, in who has access to these sports, and how more people can get involved.

[00:00:00] Rebecca Olive: Naomi Edwards is well known on Australia’s Gold Coast for her passion and commitment to sustainable and ethical coastal management programs and policies. Amongst other roles, she has been the co-founder and program designer for Intrepid Land Care, that’s a youth driven grassroots land care group, she’s worked for the Gold Coast Catchment Association, for Coastal Comms, which is a data driven business that works with coastal managers, and she’s also held positions with organizations including the Australian Coastal Society, South East Queensland Water and Land Catchment, National Surfing Reserves in Australia, and also works with World Surf Reserves. Currently, she’s working as a campaigns manager for cChange for Good, and she’s in the final stages of completing her PhD with the School of Humanities Languages and Social Science at Griffith University. Thank you for talking with me, Naomi.

[00:01:42] Naomi Edwards: Thank you, Rebecca.

[00:01:43] Rebecca Olive: So I thought we’d start with a sort of overview question of what is coastal management?

[00:01:49] Naomi Edwards: Well, I thought you were going to ask me this question. And if you ask 100 different people, you’d get 100 different answers, but how I’ve come to understand coastal management, through my research of researching the practice of coastal management is that I see and understand coastal management as more of a response to the social, political and cultural expectations that we have in response, to say, environmental issues on the coast. So for instance, I’ll give you just a quick example, in the 1930s, with the boom of daylight swimming was finally legalized in the early 1900s, with also too the labour rights movement, which meant that more people could access and use and enjoy Australia’s beaches. But at the same time we had really bad legislation, or lack of legislation, and no regulation around, say, stormwater. And so what you had what you had was dead cats being washed up on Bondi Beach, because back then there was a social acceptance that you could just dump waste at the sea. So obviously, people were getting annoyed of having this litter being washed up on their beaches and impacting their experiences, say, swimming at the beach. And so the community got together and politicians then got together and they said, ‘Let’s do something about that’. And some of our first legislation comes from the social and political pressures of having clean beaches.

[00:03:42] Rebecca Olive: The word ‘management’ in coastal management is a bit of a contested term, too. I was just thinking about that while you were talking. Yeah. Tell us anything about that.

[00:03:52] Naomi Edwards: Well, management in itself holds many different meanings as well. So because coastal management, historically, is a science based discipline. It started with the practical pursuit of solving problems or stopping something and we wanted to kind of contain and manage, say, the conditions of the coast. And so we have this idea that we can, we can’t kind of, constantly, the coast is never a fixed state. So we have to think of it as a flexible space. So coastal management is really an adaptive management practice of working with the conditions of the coast. ‘Cause sand is constantly going to move and so how we respond to how sand moves, changes the practice of say how we manage the coast.

[00:04:45] Rebecca Olive: And in that that word management, as well, to me would indicate that it’s focused on human use of the coast too. Does that underpin what coastal management is aiming for?

[00:03:55] Naomi Edwards: Very much so. So so within my PhD, I did a historical analysis of the history of coastal management in Australia. And it, you know, you could sit in a gazillion million forums and you think that we’re sitting there because we want to save the coast, care for the coast, we want to have clean beaches, clean oceans. But really at the end of the day, we’re doing that as a response to say, a user. And that user is a swimmer, a surfer, a fisher, a tourist, a visitor, a local, someone who walks their dog on the beach. So yeah, so it’s always, always usually comes back to say, the human experience of the beach. But there’s many benefits of managing for that human experience, because we’re also then through that, um, getting people to think about, okay, well, why is this happening at my local beach? What can I do about, say, the litter on the coast? And that in itself has huge opportunities and advantages for, say, our non-human communities as well?

[00:05:59] Rebecca Olive: Right, super interesting. Can’t wait to read that chapter! Okay, so your work in your PhD is focused on people who work as coastal professionals in coastal management. Can you tell us a bit about what who coastal professionals are and what your work about coastal professionals is focused on?

[00:06:19] Naomi Edwards: Yep. So I would define a coastal professional as someone who works the majority of their time in their work on, say, coastal management or coastal issues or coastal matters. And that means that a coastal professional could be anyone from a coastal geographer, a coastal scientist, to, say, a social scientist is trying to understand how communities and people understand the coast. So coastal professional is like a broad-brush term to actually encompass all the different types of disciplines and people who are working on, say, coastal matters. As I guess, as a coastal professional, myself, and work having worked in coastal management, I started to experience that working in coastal management wasn’t just about what you sometimes referred to as professional beach bums. It’s not just about hanging out of the coast, it’s also about designing good policy, influencing decision makers.

And I guess, early on my career, I started to observe, yeah, people were just really unhappy in their job. Here we are, we get to kind of manage some of the best beaches in Australia, particularly on the Gold Coast. We have incredible beaches on the Gold Coast. And yet people who worked in coastal management were becoming disenchanted by the process. So I started to think about that, and how that was actually impacting my own mental health and wellbeing. And I realized that I was going home at the end of the day and complaining about some of the most trivial things, but over a period of time, they really do impact you. And I thought, ‘there’s got to be something out there that I can read about this’. And I worked out that no one had done any research on the experience of working in coastal management. And that’s what I focused my PhD research on, is what are those internal tensions that we experience when we’re working in coastal management?

Because we get into the discipline and of the coastal professionals I interviewed across Australia 95% of them are in coastal management because of some childhood experience on the coast. So they got a snorkel kit when they were 11 years old, and all they watched Ranger Stacy on ‘Totally Wild’ [kid’s nature-based tv show from the 90s and 00s] or their high school teacher loved coastal geography and all their field trips were understanding waves. And, you know, when you’ve got that deep passion for caring for such a beautiful space, you become incredibly committed, and dedicated to that profession as well. So people dedicated their entire lives to understanding beaches, so we can have the lifestyle, we can surf every day, we can walk on the beach, and there’s sand there. And so there’s a whole team, and I always call them like the ‘invisible beach goers’ in itself, because you never unless you’re up there at four o’clock in the morning, you would never know that the Gulf Coast beaches are sweeped every single morning with tractors picking up debris to making sure that the next person who walks along the beach isn’t going to be jailed by a syringe, right? So I just really wanted to understand the experience of working in coastal management. And so yeah, I looked at the conflicts coastal professionals experience in the management of the coast, how they reconcile and negotiate those conflicts, and whether those conflicts actually impact their practice and what that means for, say, policy.

[00:10:13] Rebecca Olive: So that’s a wide range of people. Can you give me some examples of the jobs of people that were involved in your project? Or that you included?

[00:06:21] Naomi Edwards: Yeah. So well, interestingly, Rebecca, is that I selected people based on their engagement at a national level. So you could be working coastal management and just kind of work at that local level, and a local council, or you can be in state government or you could be working internationally as well. So I selected people through a particular process. And interestingly, which I’m not surprised, but it’s quite alarming that pretty much 90% of all participants had a primary foundation in the sciences or engineering. A wet, coastal management is a multidisciplinary and an interdisciplinary field because it’s not just about keeping sand in front of a beach property to make sure that that property isn’t going to be washed away. It’s about understanding the users of these of the bluespaces, these coastal spaces. And at the end of the day, most of all, the decisions are really impacted from the local politics of say local beach, or local break or. But the people, what the jobs that they’re working in, they’re working in planning, they’re working in engineering, they’re working in policy, they’re working in community engagement, citizen science, the actual science itself, so understanding how rips and waves work, so it’s a whole brain range of different disciplines and expertise in that mix. But interestingly, they all have a foundation in STEM, so science, technology, engineering, engineering, and maths.

[00:12:03] Naomi Edwards: And even more interestingly, 70% of those participants are talking about 36 people here, like, and I deeply interrogated their practice. So it doesn’t sound like a lot, but also to coastal management is very niche, and it’s very small as well. It’s a bit like marine biology. It’s a small group of people, and everyone seems to know each other. But 70% of them are actually all had PhDs. So we’re talking about people who they have researched, and they’re deeply committed, and they understand their own discipline and their own expertise. But interestingly, though, people who end up doing a PhD end up kind of more multidisciplinary in itself, because they come across the discipline of humanities. And arts and social sciences. And it’s exactly my experience! I was trained as an environmental scientist, and now I’m a social scientist.

[00:13:03] Naomi Edwards: Because when you’re at school, you think if you care about the environment, you go study science. Because it’s a very generic pathway of understanding geography at school, going off to uni and studying geography at uni. Where does the Geography Department usually sit? It usually sits within the sciences. So that’s kind of why the coastal professional is what it is, that just hasn’t happened overnight. This has also happened over decades and decades of how institutions have been established.

[00:13:25] Rebecca Olive: So in coastal management then, what you’ve what you’re finding is, although most people start out with quite a quantitative scientific approach to thinking about, learning about coasts, and thinking about problem solving, they find in the end, that’s not enough. That they want the humanities and social science approaches have to be part of that, too. So coastal management sounds like it’s got some really interesting people working in that,

[00:13:52] Naomi Edwards: Oh, definitely. Like some of the people I interviewed, they’re just, I could chat with them all day. And they’ve got incredible experiences and intimate experiences of enjoying the coast. But because the coast is also a very active space, like it’s changing every day, the conditions are wild and dynamic, that in itself can actually impact you as an individual working in coastal management. So a lot of people who work in coastal management actually also work across the other disciplines of the environment. So natural resource management, or other conservation practices, even getting into sustainable agriculture for a while because the environment is a big space. And we move around as well. And it’s also just the nature of someone working out their own place in the world as well. So they’ve got different interests as well, which kind of balances their experiences of say, working on the frontline of climate change, which can be very depressing at times.

[00:15:10] Rebecca Olive: Does that also reflect the interconnection of coasts with river systems as well, especially on the Gold Coast? So people becoming interested in more sustainable agriculture does that link to their interest in the health of the coasts itself?

[00:15:25] Naomi Edwards: Definitely. And if you look at it now, even like across the Great Barrier Reef, you know, there’s been a small band of very passionate people that I’d say that haven’t been able to influence where the funding is. And you’re constantly thinking, the Great Barrier Reef, the issues are out there in the ocean. But on the Great Barrier Reef, if you fenced almost every waterway, and you practice sustainable or regenerative agriculture, you would reduce the amount of sediment that’s actually impacting the reef and the water quality. So if you put that investment into natural resource management, which is what’s happening at the moment, but it’s taken, years to get there.

[00:16:05] Rebecca Olive: Is that because the public can’t make those links so easily do you think? Do you think that coastal management professionals understand those links, but for the public, that’s quite hard to understand?

[00:16:08] Naomi Edwards: I have sometimes almost think and I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot, because I want to get a, I want to maintain and keep some employment in the future in coastal management in the future. But it’s really actually about, I would also say it’s about the people who work in coastal management or work within say, the sciences or marine sciences. They themselves can become quite, and I don’t want to don’t want to just kind of use broad concepts, but they become homogenized in their thinking. So one of the key things that I found in my research was that coastal management, while it’s expected to be multidisciplinary, and very interdisciplinary, it’s very homogenized. And so now I’m kind of getting to even the types of people that are in those, those positions and how you get to those positions. So, you know, and this kind of goes also back to a race and gender and how the world works in itself. And so the decisions become much more complex, because of how we’ve arrived at that decision in itself. So if you don’t have a broad spectrum of expertise, and information and knowledge, so it’s that local knowledge as well.

And understanding those knowledge holders, and also making sure that those knowledge holders have authority in itself in the decision making process. We will end up at the same decision again, and again, and again, because we’re only listening, or the decision makers are only have an opportunity to listen to the same people. Because the same people have been selected again and again, because they have the most number of publications, or they’ve got ‘Professor’ in front of their name, or, do you know what I mean? I went around that question in a roundabout way, but it’s important to kind of understand the nuances of how decisions are made, particularly when it comes to say, like environmental decisions.

[00:18:20] Rebecca Olive: So what you’re saying is that, fundamentally, and like, to generalize, a lot of people working in coastal management positions who contribute to the policy decisions around how we manage coasts, are generally quite similar people. Similar backgrounds, world-views, similar histories in education.

[00:18:41] Naomi Edwards: Yep, very similar. Yeah. And, you know, like, sometimes, you know, is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m the person to say whether it’s good or not. But it’s just an observation. The question you’ve got to ask yourself about that is that how does that impact the profession over decades of time? So if we kind of all end up looking the same, and this actually goes to even how we look, the colour of our skin, the colour of our eyes, where we like to hang out on the weekends, even what we wear the brands we wear? So if you were thinking of what a coastal professional looks like, and this came up in my research, there’s a uniform. Khaki pants and a blue checkered shirt, right? So if you’re going to talk to, and if I say khaki pants and a blue checkered shirt, what do you think straightaway? A male, right?

But there is an enormous amount of like so many women who work in coastal management, too. So I went to an international coastal management workshop in France two years ago. So it was like early career researchers kind of get together. And there was 18 of us there. There were five of us women, we all looked very different and we’re very dynamic and from different countries as well. But majority of the rest, which were 13 guys, pretty much all of them were wearing khaki pants and a blue or a blue shaded shirt. I could not believe it, and I thought, oh my god, that person who told me that in my interviews was actually right! It’s incredible. If you’re going to talk to a bunch of professionals from California, imagine the wearing Patagonia. You know, is the symbols we wear and the symbols of kind of how we are in the world, which, if you don’t kind of think about that, and how that actually impacts the profession and coastal management, they will all end up looking like the same people.

[00:20:36] Rebecca Olive: And you argue that we need more diversity.

[00:20:39] Naomi Edwards: Oh, yeah, definitely. If you even think about Indigenous people in Australia, I cannot name one First Nations coastal engineer. Can you believe that? And it’s like 2021. There are lots of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who work in coastal management, but they’re all in Indigenous identified roles. Now, that’s a good thing, too. But it also means that they only seen and heard in that position. We’ve done a lot of good things around women in in the coastal space. So there’s an international group, the Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering, which I’ll put a plug there, and they doing heaps of work around that. And yeah, so we’ve got a lot to do. That’s what I’ve got to say, yeah. But the first thing is acknowledging the problem.

[00:21:27] Rebecca Olive: Yes, the khaki, the khaki pants and the blue shirt have to go. They’ve gotta go.

[00:21:33] Naomi Edwards: What’s the flower shirt? Which is a good thing sometimes.

[00:21:50] Rebecca Olive: And so in the intro I talked about some of the roles that you’ve had as a coastal professional. And so how have the very various roles that you’ve had in coastal management shaped your research?

[00:22:04] Naomi Edwards: Yeah, well, the majority of my roles, and this also goes back to also the expertise I have, is in community engagement. So that’s deeply impacted my practice working in coastal management, is because I come from the heart and passion of the local people. And they have taught me probably more than, I think, I have taught them, if you get me. With all the community engagement programs I’ve put together. But that’s really impacted me because I’ve been able to develop or understand how to develop trust. Also expose myself to not knowing all the answers all the time. I think sometimes, especially for coastal professionals who work in, say, a government role, they’re expected to have know all the answers all the time. And I think it’s okay to not know all the answers because you find the answers a lot of the time in the community as well. So yeah, it’s really impacted my role.

[00:23:03] Rebecca Olive: In a publication you’ve got coming out, you argue that we need to stop expecting coastal professionals to be dispassionate, distanced, objective actors in how they do research and how they make policy decisions. So can you tell us a bit more about that.

[00:23:20] Naomi Edwards: what I’d like for coastal professionals to understand first, is that how they’ve arrived at their job has been deeply impacted by their personal experiences and their passions. You know, one of the top conditions of being a coastal professional in Australia is being passionate, which is very interesting. So what I’m saying is like the 21st century coastal professional is passionate. And we should be, we should be out there, we should be proud of our passion. You can’t survive in the discipline or any professional any career if you’re not passionate about something. But then when it comes to the actual practice of Personnel Management, we tend to think of it as like this really strict rational process. And you have to follow this process because we have to arrive at that decision with all the facts and all the information and be objective in our decision making.

[00:24:14] Rebecca Olive: Is that a consequence of the science background that drives their work?

[00:24:17] Naomi Edwards: Oh, definitely. I’m not gonna deny that. Definitely. What’s exciting, especially let’s say for the 21st century is that we’ve come to understand that science alone cannot solve the problem. I’m not the first person to say that.

[00:24:31] Rebecca Olive: you won’t be the last.

[00:24:33] Naomi Edwards: Exactly. And I’ll say it again, science alone won’t solve all the world’s problems. And especially coastal problems. Particularly for disciplines in the environmental field, we need to really consider and understand the implications of our practice. And it really goes to even how the institutions and the organizations we work in is set up in itself.

[00:25:00] Naomi Edwards: Because working in, say in in coastal management, and say if you’re working on the Great Barrier Reef, you’re living and experiencing the climate emergency every single day. How are you dealing with those conflicts and those internal tensions every single day? This is this is starting to be heavily research, which is super exciting. And this is what will change this idea of the dispassionate mindset is that we’re not just robots going in and collecting the science and writing report and saying here, change your policy. That’s not going to work. That didn’t work for bushfire management in Australia, as we saw last summer. And this then kind of goes to the support services for the people who are working, say, in coastal management itself.

[00:25:57] Naomi Edwards: And it starts with actually, it even starts with the top people in coastal management saying, ‘Yeah, I’m not okay right now, because this is what I’m dealing with’. And so that kind of goes to what my findings were, which is about the first step is actually understanding our own power and politics, and how that actually impacts our experiences working in coastal management. And that really goes to, you know, whether you are a legitimate voice or not a legitimate voice? And why is that? Why are you the one that’s called up every single time that there’s a massive coastal erosion event? And why aren’t other experts? And there’s heaps of talented, experienced people all around Australia’s coast. Why are some people been pulled up and not others all the time? And that goes back to what I was talking about before is if we keep listening and hearing from the same people, we won’t be able to change.

[00:26:40] Naomi Edwards: And so what I want is to be able to create safe spaces within the discipline to say, ‘Yep, this is what we’re dealing with’. I think the women’s movement within coastal management and like the coastal geoscience and engineering group is doing that. We get together we talk about, yeah, this is what’s going on. They’ve been publishing high impact papers. So it’s about starting to talk about the experience in itself.

[00:27:04] Rebecca Olive: And so you said the same people get called up all the time and are they the people who are more willing to be the dispassionate and objective in how they assess things?

[00:27:15] Naomi Edwards: Probably in the public front. So they will do that. But then, you know, behind closed doors, they’re talking about what’s going on. And that’s when you learn the most. And that’s what exposed me early on in my career. And I, because, you know, I was very lucky that I got to meet and work with some incredibly talented people, in like the first years of my career that I was exposed to, you know, these top experts in Australia who deal with coastal management. And I was just sitting there and observing them at a conference and listening to what they’re saying. But then what they say at a public front is very different.

[00:27:54] Rebecca Olive: And so they’re under pressure from government to do that, are they? This idea of being apolitical and not having a, because I remember being at a conference when a guy in khaki pants and a blue shirt said, ‘No, it’s got to be about the science, and it’s always got to come back to the objective science’. And I said to him, ‘Objective? We’re at a sustainability conference. Like, you, you’ve taken a position on this already’.

[00:28:18] Naomi Edwards: Well, I think it’s easy to go back to facts, because people are comfortable with that. That’s why. Like they may not understand how can you arrive at a decision that’s full of different contexts? Like even people who work in the discipline are like, how do you analyze qualitative data? There must be subjectivity in that? I’m like, great. How you design quantitative assessments and how you chose a method has so much subjectivity. Like you can keep talking and talking about that. But I think people go back to facts and this idea of being objective is because it’s easier. It seems to be black and white. No one likes to be in the gray space. Coastal management is very gray. Like it’s very nuanced, it’s very complex. And there can be a million different answers for one question, you know, because it’s the way that you ask the question, frame the question, that you’ll get the different answers and people find that hard to grapple with.

[00:29:16] Rebecca Olive: But the answer that you choose is then totally based on the background that you bring to the …

[00:29:22] Naomi Edwards: Yeah, yeah.

[00:29:36] Rebecca Olive: As you know, Naomi, my work focuses on the role of sport, physical activity and leisure in caring for coasts. And you’ve worked with surf organizations on coastal care. So how do the points that you’re making in your research translate to the contributions of, for example, swimmers and surfers and beach walkers and, and so on, to practices and programs around coastal management.

[00:29:57] Naomi Edwards: So there’s really two key things around that. The first thing is that coastal professionals are more likely to be surfers, fishers, walkers, swimmers, like people who walk on the beach. They live and breed the coast every single day. So really, there’s no difference. So if a coastal  management consultation processes happening in your community, that person that speaking of the podium is no different to who you are. They just might know a little bit more, because they spend their nine to five day looking at this stuff every single day.

[00:30:28] Naomi Edwards: The other part of it is that I really wanted to take the swimmers, surfers and beach walkers and the fishers on a journey to actually understand how coastal management works. So we’re people who are passionate about a local break and are concerned about coastal management. If they just have a little bit more knowledge about how the system of coastal management works, they may be able to understand how to pitch their argument better, or make sure that they are listened to and they’re heard. So there’s kind of two parts of that. And I that second part really comes from my experience working in community engagement.

[00:31:09] Naomi Edwards: If people who are so passionate about their local patch, if they understand how the bureaucracy works, and how decisions are made, and, and who makes those decisions, they’ll be able to influence the process a whole lot more effectively, really.

[00:31:22] Rebecca Olive: But that also need to be willing to engage with the nuance and complexity of the so that’s part of the education bit. And that’s really hard when you’re coming at it from a very specific position. Say surfers really want to protect waves and surf breaks, right. So they fight for the protecting of the quality of a wave, for example, and National Surf Reserves have been really great around that, and World Surf Reserves, and that’s really what they’re focused on. But protecting a wave might have other implications for either part of the beach, too. So conflicts must come up within those groups as they’re advocating for their, like, their position on things as well.

[00:32:58] Naomi Edwards: Yeah, definitely. And I think it’s kind of taking people on a journey to actually also understand what they know, and what they care about matters. But what somebody else knows and cares about matters just as much. It’s just kind of taking people on a journey to being like, ‘Yep, I totally get you. I know what you’re going through. I understand the reasons why you’re upset about something or a decision, and let’s maybe work out a solution’. So it’s really just kind of slowing down the conversation. Because I think in this rapidly pace world we expect decisions almost immediately, and that’s hard in the coastal space because it’s changing every single day.

[00:32:38] Rebecca Olive: And so, it’s so interesting listening to you talk about coastal management as an area and about coastal professionals within it. Because it’s a job where the people working in it, they want to spend time at the coast, they’re in it. So their interest in, in protecting coasts comes from the time they spend in it all the time anyway. So it’s like this immersion, this living on coasts, and understanding them in an everyday way in their lifestyle, then intersects with the kind of expertise and knowledge that they gained. It’s really interesting.

[00:33:09] Naomi Edwards: And a good example of that is one of my really good friends who works in coastal management at a State Government level, is doing incredible work. But the best thing I think that time is installing a hose at a dog beach. Because they actually, they have a dog, they take the dog to the beach, and they’re like, ‘Well, we have beach showers, why don’t we just connect a few hoses to these beach showers’?

[00:33:56] Naomi Edwards: You should see how many happy dogs and how many happy dog beach, dog owners there are this particular beach. I won’t name where it is or identify who the person is, but I honestly think that in itself is, that is where innovation comes from is, like, the experience and the expertise and just providing really practical solutions.

[00:34:17] Rebecca Olive: And that’s such a good example of why we need more diversity amongst coastal professionals. Because if individuals lived experience shapes the decisions that are then getting made on beach infrastructure and beach resources, you definitely need more diverse people.

[00:34:30] Naomi Edwards: Oh, definitely. That’s definitely like I thought, wow, that is like the best idea ever. I was fuming I didn’t think of it beforehand.

[00:34:42] Rebecca Olive: All right. Well, I’ve got one last question for you. So following everything we’ve talked about today, what’s one key thing that people can do or change in their lives to take better care of oceans and coasts?

[00:34:53] Naomi Edwards: I think we just need to be more kind. And we need to be more kind to ourselves and more kind to others, more kind to different users of the coast. And by being more kind, we’ll have more time to actually listen to what people have got to say, understand where they’re coming from. And really through that process, we create more of a safe space to have really important conversations that we’re yet to even start. Climate change, sea level rise, what that means for beach uses, you know, it’s pretty serious. And we need to arrive at that point with lots loads of kindness and compassion, because there’s going to be lots of really difficult decisions that have to be made. I certainly don’t want to be a decision maker making those decisions. But I want to be part of the process to actually get people to come to come together and go ‘Yep. All right. Yeah, how can we live along the coast, have the lifestyle that we have and live with a change climate’?

[00:36:10] Rebecca Olive: Thanks so much for a great bit of advice and for so many interesting insights into coastal management.

[00:36:16] Naomi Edwards: Thank you very much, Rebecca.

[00:36:19] Rebecca Olive: I hope you enjoyed this episode of Saltwater Library. It was produced by Hannah Reardon-Smith, with music by cyberBanshee, and art and design by Amelia Hine. Funding is from the Australian Research Council, and The University of Queensland.

For more information on Saltwater Library and the project it’s part of, you can visit www.movingoceans.com.

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Previous Episodes

  • Indigenous ecological knowledges
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  • Saltwater Library: Introduction
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