An Argentinian has entered the list of the 100 most important leaders in the world in environmental protection

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At just 23 years old, Nicolás Marín Benitez is an explorer of National Geographic and underwater photographer who has just been awarded for his work in the depths of the ocean for the prestigious channel of “our ocean“, an international environmental protection organization that raises awareness, inspires and informs young people about the fight against climate change and also promotes sustainable tourism.

The young man from San Miguel is on one of the prestigious lists of people who will attend the conference “Our Ocean Panama 2023“, between 2 and 3 March 2023 under the motto “Our ocean, our connection”. There they meet 100 young world leaders in conference for the oceans. And Nico is the only Argentine among the squad.

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It will be within one of the 6 areas of action that the event has: “Marine Pollution”, i.e. marine contamination. “It’s an opportunity to defend the oceans against the entire world“, says the young man from San Miguel with great emotion for his new challenge.

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“It is inevitable to create a general awareness of ocean conservation to stop considering it the big dump for mankind“, they explain from the ocean protection group about the area in which Nicolás will participate.

And they define the main objectives in this regard: “To strengthen all efforts aimed at reducing the degree of pollution, restore the appropriate natural conditions and take preventive and corrective measures to clean the ocean and keep it free of wastes and harmful chemicals”.

The great challenges of ocean decontamination, such as islands of plastic, require a wide range of proposals together with a complete solution.“, they condemn.

In addition, the international conference will have five other themes: Marine protected areas, sustainable blue economies, climate change, marine security and sustainable fisheries.

Although the presence of environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg has not been confirmed, from the open invitation to the community they ensure that “They will be present government representatives, presidents from all over the world, industries, civil society AND science to discuss measures to protect the oceans”.

His photos of gray whales and giant tortoises

Nicolás rose to become today’s world-renowned environmental leader based on an outstanding career as an underwater photographer that began at an early age and progressed very rapidly.

This Our Ocean conference call comes shortly after fulfilling a professional dream: to be part of an underwater mission for a National Geographic documentary.

In turn, this chance came to him after two of his underwater photos were recognized as one of the best in the world and received a prestigious award. This ended up catapulting him to work with a documentary giant.

In 2022, Nicolás ventured into the deep to record images of the ocean’s toughest marine animals: white sharks, gray whales, manta rays and giant turtles are some of the deep-sea inhabitants he captured with his lens to gather information, as part of a team of 25 specialists like him from all over the world, seven of them from Latin America.

Nicholas was the only Argentine in the mission christened Migrants from the Pacific, alluding to the species involved. The young photographer dived into the waters of Hawaii, Aruba and the Galapagos Islands. He has already managed to record giant Galapagos tortoises, gray whales and some sperm whales and killer whales. But one last step is still missing: dive into the depths of Bath, California, to meet one of the most dangerous species: white sharks. “This is my lifelong dream,” he says.

National Geographic’s goal with this work is to demystify, based on the images recorded by Nicolás and his colleagues, the ideas that exist about the behavior of those beings often described as sea monsters; and also learn more about and spread their migration routes.

“There are two ways to do what I do. On my own or integrated into a team like National Geographic. In this case it is my first experience of this type and I do it with my camera. There I will meet the people I intend to interview and who I have already contacted by email”, explained the young photographer at the end of 2021, shortly after starting his great adventure.

His work for the international documentary chain -as he explained- has three edges. Visually, he seeks photos of him to convey the “relation” which is generated in the water due to the contact between it and these particular animals, very difficult to capture.

But also, from a more scientific aspect, has the difficult mission of helping to understand what one sees. And for this, in parallel with the photos, create interviews to the specialists who are in the area. Regard understand biology, behaviors and migration routesto be able to interact with these marine specimens e show them through your lens.

The third stage of his task has to do with something that has mobilized him ever since he dreamed of dedicating himself to underwater photography: the environmental activism. You want your work to educate people to be a part of it solution and not about the problem, and once and for all take care of yourself the ocean and the waters of the world, together with the species that are immersed in it.

From the fear of water to the friendship of octopuses

Nicolás began to devote himself to his profession in 2018, as a teenager, when he was called to manage the networks of a complex in Cozumel, Mexico, and to start photographing the animals of the Caribbean Sea.

Several years ago, when he was little, he was afraid of water and didn’t dare to swim. But that was a bigger delay. And finally the passion was stronger. Already an adult, with diving and photography courses she refined his technique to obtain underwater images, without brakes.

His bond with sea creatures is very particular since that first experience. “Since I started I try to have a connection that goes beyond the photos. Before they ran away from me quickly, now I seek dialogue with the senses: it’s like when you’re chatting with someone, “she explains.

And he elaborates: “In this case I can’t use words; but I can do it anyway sensing if a marine animal really wants me to come play with me, or if he’s just not interested. It is very important to observe the attitude of him. “

This is his big secret. This allowed him, for example, to reach a deep affinity with unthinkable beings. “The funniest are the octopuses. You know their presence because their shelters are made of marine crusts, the same ones that their tentacles leave behind,” he reveals.

“They play a game with you as a detective. At first they only show you one eye, but as they get more comfortable you can see them. They are the chameleons of the water: they quickly change color depending on where they are. They look like one of the Fantastic 4. They are in a red stone and they turn red, it’s impressive“, he says to explain how difficult it is to see them, and much more to record them with the camera.

Even if, according to the National Geographic explorer, “entering the ocean to photograph and get the best photos is the same as on land and in large fields, with the big difference that you can see very little in the water, whether it is day or Night”. evening”. The goal is large animals, even if they are the hardest to find. According to this explorer, it is a kind of luck to find them.

Source: Clarin

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