We had the good fortune of connecting with Nadia Rubio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nadia, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
An essential activity in the nonprofit I lead besides scientific research is science communication. I believe scientific knowledge needs to be expressed in different forms so that broad audiences can access relevant scientific information and can help improve how humans interact and take care of nature. This is critical, especially nowadays when many environmental disasters are happening worldwide. Mar Sustentable´s social media have become a platform that has allowed me to express this personal interest.
In our social media, we aim for our audience to find amusement in learning more about the reefs in the Mesoamerican Reef System. Islands, coasts, and oceans of Mexico and around the world face common threats such as coral disease, water and plastic pollution, overexploitation of species and landscapes, an increasing number of the local population, and bad tourism practices when visiting the coastal area. This is why it is crucial to raise a collective voice toward the needed changes as individuals and as a community.
Besides the social media channels, we develop environmental education workshops for kids and local community members such as fishers. Through these activities, we aim to share knowledge o about the ocean with different community sectors. Mar sustainable also has a group of young students, volunteers, and interns who are passionate about marine conservation and allow us to achieve our science communication endeavor.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I first got interested in the ocean at a very young age. My mom is passionate about the sea and shared that with me when I was young. When I was 7, my grandfather gave me a box of National Geographic magazines with early studies on dolphin and whale behavior and conservation from the late 1970s and early 1980s… and I was utterly hooked. I would spend time reading them and being very interested in the lives of dolphins and whales. And I decided that I would become a marine biologist when I grew up. I expressed this in my early career years when I studied diverse aspects of whale ecology for my bachelor’s and masters’ degrees. During that period, I spent a considerable amount of time in the field in the Gulf of California studying sperm whales. Further, for my Ph.D. I was interested in looking at the interactions humans have with the environment. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with diverse fishing communities documenting their traditional sea knowledge. I’ve done this most recently on Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel in the Mexican Caribbean.
I always had a solid science background. But in 2019, I decided to take a diving year. I was able to do this by the Women Divers Hall of Fame by an award given to me. This award allowed me to do my Divemaster, but I also had to develop a science communication campaign. I went diving back and had so much joy meeting Cozumel’s reefs. The science education campaigns I created collaborating with a leading coral reef conservation organization called Healthy Reefs for Healthy People as part of my grant were very successful. These generated new visual materials for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in short social media stories focused on getting people hooked on reefs and their inhabitants. This experience I just shared reshaped my career and life. After that, I decided to open my small nonprofit, and I am currently working on this project with much enthusiasm. Lastly, the many challenges throughout my career as a Latina and minority in Science have helped me learn to improve my personal and professional ways. After a considerable time in the Marine Conservation world, my advice to young generations would be to not give up no matter how turbulent the water can get. I believe it is about the right timing, a door that finally opens for an opportunity, lots of hard work, and a positive attitude to make your career goals come true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take him diving to Cozumel´s Reefs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out to diverse organizations that have believed in my marine conservation research ideas since the beginning, which was crucial to developing my research line as a young woman in science. Their support and funding have allowed me to start and continue my work in the Mexican Caribbean. Their support has also empowered me as a Latina in Ocean Science, allowing me to disseminate my work locally and globally. The Rufford Foundation
Save our Seas Foundation
The Women Divers Hall of Fame
Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program, WWF
Aldora Divers, Cozumel
Dive With Martin, Cozumel
Other: Tik Tok https://www.tiktok.com/@marsustentable1
Tha photos are owned by Mar Sustentable Photographers Libertad Cruz Felix Vazquez Hector Cardenas Nadia Rubio The green swimsuit is from an ecobrand called marleonecowear founded by Mathilde Bardon marleon_ecowear. Nadia Rubio makes collaborations with sustainable brands to use during her underwater work. I have also been supported by @MagdakineDesigns Swimwear In the picture of the two divers Nadia Rubio is the one all in black and Libertad Cruz, Nadia´s student is the other diver.