Booking Cares Fund Changemaker: Roderic Mast, Oceanic Society

 

Roderic Mast of the Oceanic Society and recipient of a grant as part of the Booking Cares Fund updates on their progress on the Blue Habits project since all recipients joined us in Amsterdam at the start of May.

Blue Habits is a ground-breaking research project aimed at understanding the effects of nature-based tourism on behavioural change. The Oceanic Society will partner with Stanford University to motivate pro-ocean behavioural change with tour operators worldwide.

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The Booking Cares Fund award has given wings to a long-held dream of mine to find ways to attack the main cause of unhealthy oceans: human behaviors. Every day we hear new reports about the severity of ocean problems, from plastic garbage patches, to overfishing, climate change, and disappearing marine species. Yet my job as a conservationist is to look beyond the problems to find and implement solutions. The keys to restoring ocean health are really quite simple – people must reduce what we put into and take out of the seas through our daily consumer choices and actions. We must change our identities to become ocean-friendly in what we say and what we do.

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My organization, Oceanic Society, created the Blue Habits program to research and develop a new way to influence human behaviors relating to the ocean, starting with the nature-based tourism sector. To do this, we’ve partnered with behavior and design experts at Stanford University to research, develop, and test new ways to motivate and sustain pro-ocean behaviors through tourism experiences.

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After receiving the Booking Cares Fund award in May, we hit the ground running by hiring a full-time Blue Habits program manager, Lindsay Mosher, who is playing a critical role in helping us develop and implement this ambitious program. With Lindsay on board, we headed out to Palo Alto, CA, for a project-planning meeting with our collaborators at Stanford University, Drs. Nicole Ardoin and Mele Wheaton. We visited Stanford’s design school (d.school) and began to solidify plans for a design-thinking workshop at Stanford in September that will bring together tourism experts, scientists, conservationists, and designers to approach our key question—how do we motivate pro-ocean behaviors through nature-based tourism experiences?—as a design and innovation challenge. We are excited to include my Booking Cares Fund mentor, Meredith Ragsdale, among the experts who will participate in the workshop, as well as to engage other Booking.com staff in the implementation phase as well.

All of us at Oceanic Society are grateful to Booking.com for the unprecedented level of support, from critically needed financing, to mentorship from Booking.com experts, to training and team building among a world-class cadre of Changemakers. We look forward to sharing more stories about our work as it progresses!


Applications for the second round of the Booking Cares Fund are now open. Find more information at Fund.BookingCares.com!