Meet our Early Career Ocean Professionals: Evander Cipriano Nhaúle (Challenge 10)

Evander Cipriano Nhaúle is recent graduate citizen-science diver who was born in Africa but raised in the diaspora (Europe) and is now based in Mozambique.  His life changed after an encounter with magnificent marine mammals and he is now training to spend more time in the Ocean through free diving, as well as promote ocean conservation and awareness in his local community.

 1. Hi Evander, can you tell us how are you working towards the Ocean Decade Challenge 10: Change humanity’s relationship with the Ocean?

I would say I’m an unofficial blue mind ambassador and I’ve been speaking about blue mind positive impact in our wellness in my community. Th purpose is changing the ocean narrative and bringing people close to water around us, by incorporating a blue mind actively the science tells only good stuff will come from it and I can say for myself that is true, speaking now as more than just an ocean enthusiast.

2. Why do you think it is important to work towards this Challenge?

I believe every problem concerning climate change (and the Ocean) begins with our disconnection with the environment around us, if we understand that by keeping the beach clean we’ll be able to swim and whale-watch and thus have a good ocean experience.  We would understand at the most intimate level how the ocean positively impacts our wellness. We all want the best for our lives so that includes a good relationship with the ocean, so by actively incorporating sustainable actions we can give back through practical results.

3. What was the Ocean’s influence on you growing up, and what’s has changed for you since you’ve been working towards this Challenge?

Most the time in my life I’ve lived near the Ocean. After learning how to swim when I was growing up, I would swim at the beach whenever I had the chance. On a random Sunday 2 years ago I saw my first humpback whales breaching near my home and I decided that I should understand more about the ocean so I began reading marine biology and oceanography. A year later, on the same whale-season I was able to scuba dive and listen to whales sing underwater and even snorkel with some. By that time, I already was familiar with “blue mind”, ocean literacy and blue economy so I decided to begin my entrepreneurship in the sector of ecotourism and marine conservation. As I’m now training in the pool to became a freediver, I understand that the awe for the ocean the whales gave me… I’m trying to give it back somehow, and I’m now also doing beach clean-ups, talking to the community, advocating marine conservation, etc.

4. What is unique about your perspective/motivation (culturally, geographically, personal connection etc)?

I was born in Africa but raised in the diaspora (Europe). I hold a bachelor degree in languages and international relations and yet, I’m investing in my scuba diving and freediving certifications, in my ocean science knowledge, entrepreneurship know-how and so on, to be able to be the person that I understand that the Ocean needs me to be. I’m also an artist, so I’ve been learning how to express this “virtual” blue mind tool in order to bring people closer to the Ocean. I’m a brainstormer so naturally I’ve been having many ideas but I’ve solidified the ones I definately must implement. I bring this “outsider” perspective but insider enthusiasm so I can be the bridge between two worlds. People have been calling me “Aquaman” but I know there are real Aquamen out there that I really strive to be. Even tho I’ve no direct support, I know there’s a community of blue minded individuals out there and finding that tribe is all I need to feel their warmth, so I’m trying to hold all the right signs to let them know I’m part of the tribe too.

5. Tell us about some of your recent achievements/highlights/success or alternatively what are you struggling with, or what challenges/barriers are you facing?

I’ve been able to participate in last year’s Climate Launch Pad bootcamp. Unfortunately, my biggest struggle is that I cannot do everything by myself and the project planning without mentors that already are familiarized with my idea is one of the barriers to be sure how to implement it. I also don’t have the means to study the market and assess everything I need to have a pratical understanding on the status for my proposal. Still, I’m now member of ECOP Mozambique and SOA Mozambique and intend to gain know-how thanks to it. I was able to create a roundtable with SOA Mozambique at a University, speaking with students about ocean literacy and the documentary “Home” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and they loved it. They want to keep it going and I’ve more ideas but I’m yet to be invest in it full time, 24 hours are never enough time!

6. How can people support you and your work? 

I would love to connect with NGOs and institutions interested in the enhancement and deployment of Artificial Reefs for improving fisheries, marine conservation and aesthetic underwater sites. I am also looking for partners to invest in me becoming a freediver instructor and underwater photographer here in Mozambique. Please follow and  contact me via my Instagram.

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