Under The Spotlight: Mark Parry

Project Funding Manager for the National Marine Aquarium Mark Parry tells us how surfing sparked his appreciation for the ocean

Mark Parry
Project Funding Manager
National Marine Aquarium

In this weeks edition of Under the Spotlight we talk with Mark Parry from the National Marine Aquarium. Mark Is passionate about marine conservation and the environment and currently works as a Project Funding Manager for the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Mark explains how his parents allowed him to explore the coast around where he grew up and from an early age, spent much of his childhood in or on the water.

Lets see what else Mark had to say as he went Under The Spotlight...🔦

What inspired you to get involved in conservation and the environment?

I didn’t make a conscious decision to get involved in the environment or marine conservation, I just followed the next opportunity and what felt like the correct thing to do at the time. Growing up near the coast in South West England the sea from an early age was a playground and my parents actively supported me exploring the coast. My farther would take me windsurfing and that was the family activity with him, sadly he passed when I was young and getting the equipment to the beach became hard so I turned to the last birthday gift he bought me, a surfboard that was easier to get to the beach. I became a surfer by default but found within that a deep appreciation for what the sea could offer us and the healing it was able to provide. The idea of being any distance from that release of being in the water was just inconceivable so everything I studied or worked within has always had something to do with the sea. When I was in my 20’s my work was based around enjoying the sea but as I became older I’ve watched our seas change over a small time frame. Since the water has been such an influential part in shaping me I’m unable to walk away from that so as I get older I feel my time is best spent trying to look after what small part of it I can.

Surfing - Mark Parry

If you could change one thing to make a huge impact on the planet, what would it be?

I’d change the issue few are prepared to discuss or even acknowledge exists because and as a species we’ve decided to not talk about it. One of the greatest threats to nature and ourselves today is population growth. Before 1850 it took two hundred thousand years for the human population to get to one billion. The next billion came in just one hundred years after that, meaning by 1950 the human population was at two billion. Now we add one billion people to the planet every 12 years. I don’t believe in removing peoples rights, far from it, rather it is about empowering the women of the world by high levels of education good health care and access to birth control so as a species make an informed decision on children, and to just replace yourself. I’d change that as a species we are able to openly discuss this topic without feeling we’re talking about removing people’s rights.

"I've been fortunate to turn a curiosity into a career and that career allows me to be curious everyday."

How would you convince the Donald Trumps of this world that biodiversity is important?

How do you convince the inconvincible? Remove them from the capitalist machine and spend time with them in nature I’d guess. I’m a big fan of walking and finding beauty in the small things on the way. I would take Donald Trump to the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail in Japan, a UNESCO site. We would keep walking till he saw pleasure in the small things and realised there is nothing more valuable than nature.

Blue Whale, NZ - Mark Parry

What is your most memorable encounter with an animal or nature?

North Island of New Zealand in 2014 I joined a boat that was heading out to the West of the North Island for 5 weeks, we were on board to do some protected species work and I thought we wouldn’t see much along the way. Every day the boat would come across many juvenile Blue Whales. Not only was it the first time I saw a Blue Whale but we saw hundreds along the way. It was exciting seeing each one. I hope the whales we saw are still swimming in our oceans long after I am.

Who is your conservation role model?

Doug Allan – Wildlife cameraman

Help millions of people to understand and care more about the natural world by filming it! Doug Allan has spent years sat in cold places capturing footage of rare species and behaviour. To bring the natural world to our screens takes patience and I think that’s what we all need a little bit more of.


If you would like to get in contact with Mark you can find him riding some killer breaks down on the South West Coast near Plymouth. Alternatively you can find him here Linkedin

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