Interview with Sruthi Gurudev: Eco-Journalism & Deep Sea Mining
Meet Youth Advisory Council member Sruthi Gurudev by "diving" into her eco-journalism work and learning about her thoughts on deep sea mining!
Name: Sruthi Gurudev
Country: United States
Sruthi is a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Sustainable Ocean Alliance Grantee, and the editor in chief of An Hour in the Deep E-Magazine, a publication that engages youth in eco-journalism. Sruthi also serves as the ambassador for Global Goal 14, Life Below Water for United Nations Association of Chicago. She is a member of the Youth Council at Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, where she is a Conventions and Community Wellbeing Committee Member. Through her involvement in Reserva’s initiatives, Sruthi recognized the power of youth voices in conservation, which she hopes to amplify in her work. Outside of eco-journalism and researching ocean solutions, Sruthi feels most connected with the blue world when scuba diving. She seeks to create a new dimension in her conservation journey by learning to do volunteer projects in underwater environments.
Tell us a little bit about what you do, and why!
I created my e-magazine, An Hour in the Deep, to tell stories about our ocean from a youth perspective. I think that involving young people in eco-journalism gives them a chance at impacting ocean conservation in nontraditional ways. The ethos of the magazine is forward looking, solutions-oriented, and optimism based. It is extremely important that we boost this kind of changemaking morale through our articles because it exposes the challenges that lie ahead but also gives readers a sense of hope. Reading and writing have been pivotal to my understanding of the planet and my motivation to protect, and I know it will be for others too.
Describe one moment when you felt inspired to take action:
The name of my e-magazine, “An Hour in the Deep” actually comes from my visit to the Great Barrier Reef, where I confronted climate change “face to face” by witnessing bleached corals. I spent an hour beneath the surface, and couldn’t put aside what I saw when I returned to the boat. I determined that if an “hour in the deep” could have such a profound impact on me, then an hour interacting with the e-magazine could move readers to start caring more about the ocean.
Is there a specific ocean issue you feel most strongly about?
Cobalt, nickel, copper, and manganese: the four horsemen of a potential deep sea apocalypse. These are the four elements that make up polymetallic nodules, which are rock-like masses of minerals that lie in vast quantities in the abyssal seafloor. In recent years, the mining of these polymetallic nodules has emerged as a solution to worldwide mineral demands. However, it’s a latent cause for environmental devastation that researchers are just beginning to discover. A lot of our understanding of polymetallic nodules comes from their projected contributions economically and socially. However, I am unequivocally against that. Turning our gaze to the sea simply as a substitute to mining the land is not an option. We need to seek out a solution that won’t wreak havoc on precious life forms that we haven’t yet discovered. Deep sea mining may set off a myriad of negative effects such as disrupting unique communities in the deep such as those in hydrothermal vents and seamounts. According to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the result could be tantamount to “replacing an old growth forest with a field of dandelions.”
Why do you love the ocean?
I was first drawn to the ocean because of its primordial beauty. I began to truly love it when I learned how it enables our planet to function and flourish. Endless life teems beneath the surface; and we have the technology to reveal how creatures survive at extreme depths. Funnily enough, learning about the ocean is so inspiring that it puts into perspective how frivolous some of my day to day worries are. Whenever I catch myself worked up about something, I think of how vast and glorious life beneath the sea is, and my worries all melt away. The ocean really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Do you have anything else you want to share?
One of the central themes of the e-magazine is time. We know time is running out, and this is a very pertinent issue affecting the environmental sphere. The power of storytelling will help mitigate this stress. A truthful but positive spin is needed in how we communicate. Keeping up morale is incredibly important. Powerful writing for me was enough to motivate me to get involved, and I believe the rewards of creating and running a publication like An Hour in the Deep is tenfold because of the community it builds and the discussions it starts. The forward looking focus is really important to the magazine. One compelling subsection is “Ocean Solutions: Future.” This subsection discusses nascent, up and coming, or generally under researched technology that’s being developed to combat the issues facing the seas. In future editions, topics that I would like to explore are technologies that aid in deep sea exploration and the dangers of Deep Sea Mining.
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