Reef Ecologic


Postal address:
14 Cleveland Terrace
North Ward, Townsville
Queensland Australia 4810

Telephone: 0418726584
International: +61 418726584


0428 889 812

Reef Ecologic is a non-government organisation providing applied science services for triple bottom line outcomes.

Learning Leadership on Orpheus Island


Learning Leadership on Orpheus Island

Reef Ecologic Pty Ltd

Many stories, one world

The following is a blog post written by Zoë Routh of Inner Compass

I’ve just returned from a four day leadership program I ran for an extraordinary group of science leaders, from three different oceans. Reef Ecologic is hosting the Coral Reef Fellowship, first of its kind in far north Queensland. The three-week program covers various aspects of complex leadership (this is where I helped out), marine reef science, and reef management. I had a few glorious days on Orpheus Island in sunshine, facilitating workshops and activities barefoot, with an expanse of ocean as backdrop.

I was touched by the conversations, the stories, and the challenges each of these ocean leaders face in being custodians, caretakers, and advocates for healthy marine life.

Challenges include:

  • Climate change and rising sea levels means the Maldives, and other islands, are facing likely inundation and disappearance of its island under water;
  • Erosion of mainland – and thus disappearing housing and infrastructure;
  • Managing competing economic and environmental pressures where income generation opportunities are limited, and resources limited.

The group espouses this common belief:

Healthy Oceans = Healthy People = Healthy World.
Oceans make up 71% of the world, while water makes up 68% of the human body;
Oceans need clean water just like the human body needs clean water.
It’s time we looked after ocean health as we would our own health.

I think this sums up nicely our common responsibility to the planet, and our own future.

Here’s what I learned in teaching various aspects of leadership over the few days:

  • The details of our stories may vary, and yet we all want the same thing: to enjoy our lives in a healthy, beautiful world.
  • Our stories distinguish us, and they also unite.
  • Speaking the truth is one of the most challenging things we can ever do; and the most important.
  • However we differ – skin colour, religion, language – what unites us is greater than the sum of our parts.
  • When we have a deep and powerful ‘why’, courage holds our hand and helps us to step up.

To hear in their own words why oceans are important, here’s a clip filmed this Monday on World Ocean Day.