Alumna Emily De Sousa Advocates for Our Oceans, One Drop at a Time

Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2024

Photo of Emily De Sousa sitting on chair leaning on her hand smiling.
Emily De Sousa

An estimated 75 to 199 million tons of plastic waste already saturate our oceans. Each year, a whopping 33 billion pounds of plastic invade marine environments. By 2050, plastic is forecasted to outweigh all fish in the sea. Plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change.  

“This is how change starts, it starts with one person, it starts with one straw, and it starts with one drop. And you and these everyday changes that you are making in your own life are that one drop. Not just a single drop in the ocean but the entire ocean in a drop.” 

Emily De Sousa, an advocate for sustainable seafood based in Niagara, ON, and is a champion in ocean conservation efforts. Through her platform, Seaside with Emily, she offers a one-of-a-kind resource for coastal enthusiasts and seafood aficionados alike. 

De Sousa earned her master’s degree at the University of Guelph, specializing in small-scale fisheries within North America and the intricate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on seafood supply chains. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist at InnaSea Media, a female-founded media agency that specializes in creative communication solutions for the seafood industry. In this role, she also created the first ever global influencer marketing program exclusively for seafood companies. 

Her contributions to seafood sustainability and marine conservation have garnered global recognition. Beyond her academic and professional pursuits, De Sousa is a seasoned PADI Divemaster and Freediver, lending her talents to the Project Aware program as a dedicated Ambassador.  

Driven by a profound passion for fostering equity and resilience in coastal communities, De Sousa endeavors to cultivate a more sustainable tourism industry. Through the power of storytelling, she adeptly communicates scientific insights and policy imperatives, bridging the gap between knowledge and action in her tireless advocacy efforts. 

De Sousa is a seasoned speaker, having graced stages such as TEDx, the Women in Travel Summit, and online events hosted by the Travel Industry Marketing Association. 

In a poignant TEDxKanata talk in 2018, she emphasized the profound impact of plastic pollution on our oceans, reminding us that change begins with individual actions. Inspired by the quote, you are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop," De Sousa urged listeners to recognize their capacity for meaningful change. 

This year on Earth Day 2024, NGO’s, students, businesses, governments, and communities have called for unwavering commitment to call for the end of plastics for human and planetary health, has called for a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 and a goal of building a plastic-free future for generations to come.  

“We’ve taken from the ocean all that we want, and fed it back all that we don’t, and now it's literally feeding it right back to us.” Though De Sousa’s Ted talk was given all those years ago, her words remain as important today as they were in 2018.  

As we continue in our lives after earth day, let us all remember how we can make a difference one straw, and one drop at a time. 

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