Sustainability and DEIB: Voices from the Periphery
Join Dr. Fadia Nordtveit and Alifa Bintha Haque on Sustainability and DEIB
Alifa Bintha Haque
Working for marine conservation is a passion I came upon rather than one that I have grown up with. I was born and brought up in an urban jungle within a conventional social setting. I didn’t know what to do with my zoology degree until I started visiting St Martin’s Island, a region of Bangladesh that is the least explored in terms of marine biodiversity, although 70% of its inhabitants depend on the sea.
I realised that conservation is not a goal to achieve but a path to follow and that, whether solutions are being sought, education is being contemplated or practices are being evaluated, the path should always include the perspective of the primary users of the resources – in this case, the fishers. The community that earns its living from the ocean knows more about the ecology and biology of the fish than I do, even though I studied fisheries for my degree.
My passion for working for marine conservation comes from not imposing solutions, but rather learning and taking a bottom-up approach. I gained my MSc in biodiversity conservation and management from Oxford University with a view to acquiring a global perspective and met an amazing network of similar-minded people.
On my return to Bangladesh, I started to work with people who were catching sharks and rays, as well as people who were trading in these species – another area that needs immediate research and conservation action. It took me a year and a half to gain the trust of these people. It is extremely difficult for a person to find his or her true calling and passion. I would say I’m fortunate that I am on the path to find mine.
Check out more of Alifa's work!
Wight, A. (2021). Meet The Scientist Saving Sawfish From ‘Cancer Cure’ Myth. forbes.com,April.
Wight, A. (2021). The Scientist Saving Sawfish From ‘Cancer Cure’ . forbes.com,April.