Ocean Heroes Spotlight
Get to Know Chanté Davis: A Q&A Session
February 2, 2020
Q: Thank you so much for joining us for a Q&A! We’re so excited to have you as an Ocean Hero and would love for you to share a bit about yourself with other Ocean Heroes and readers. Can you give us a short bio of yourself (name, age, hometown, and your favorite marine animal)?
A: Thank you for having me! My name is Chanté Davis. I am 17 years old and I live in Texas (I'm originally from New Orleans, LA). My favorite marine animal is a rhincodon typus (whale shark).
Q: When did you first attend Ocean Heroes Bootcamp? Do you have a favorite memory attending OHBC?
A: I first attended Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in the summer of 2019. My favorite memory of attending OHBC was bonding with the other camp-goers in the dorms after hours and discussing our dreams and aspirations.
Q: How did you become passionate about the environment? Was there a specific moment?
A: I have always been passionate about the environment. I went to a “green school” during elementary in Texas where they taught us about climate change, renewable energy, greenhouse gases, and plastic pollution. I became extremely involved in environmental activism after I realized I was being repeatedly affected by natural disasters in the Gulf South, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey.
Q: How is your organization "One Oysean" going? Can you share a bit more about it?
A: My One Oysean organization is still in the process of base-building, with digital spaces being established (Instagram, website,YouTube) and an onboarding process being constructed for oncoming members. My vision of One Oysean is an all-inclusive nature campaign that will not only feature youth from different identities, but will be run by youth as well. I seek to hear and tell stories that are lesser known—stories of substance with intersectional framing—through artivism mediums such as photography and videography. One Oysean will cover everything from sustainable swaps to cooking/ preparing healthy cultural dishes to conservation efforts to content similar to an American science show featuring youth hosts.
Q: What is the timeline for this campaign? What do you hope to see as a result?
A: The campaign is set to officially launch in April of 2021. We hope to have 45 participants onboarded and have 6-10 local collaborations/partnerships by the end of the year. We would like to see an increase in BIPOC naturalists within our communities, and within five years, hope to grow our base outside of our state and have 4 media features. After ten years, we hope to either end the campaign with at least 1 major collaboration or turn it into a non-profit.
Q: How has Ocean Heroes Network contributed to your activism?
A: Ocean Heroes Network has contributed to my activism in multiple ways. I have made friends with amazing youth who are leading the climate fight all over the world! I have built important media and nonprofit organization contacts. I have also used the many tips and tricks from Ocean Heroes Network during my campaign (Danni Washington’s social media tips) and for my personal health (blue mind meditation).
Q: Who are your role models/mentors? How have they inspired you and your campaign?
A: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Danni Washington, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Ocean Ramsey are my role models. These women have inspired me throughout my activism journey; they’ve changed the game when it comes to ocean advocacy and conservation, something I strive to do. Some of my mentors are my mom, my coach, Abby Leedy, and my bestfriend Bailey Usdan, who have inspired me to stay authentic to myself and my mission and have offered me unconditional support towards my campaign.
Q: This February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions that Black Americans have made to this country, and the world. What do you hope your impact on the world is? What do you want your legacy to be?
A: I hope my impact on the world is to inspire young and old generations alike to live out their dreams, no matter what society tells them to do or be. Everyone has a passion, and everyone [especially Black Americans] should be able to live out that passion without having to go through unfair circumstances. I want my legacy to be like the ocean: resilient, giving, diverse, and beautiful.
Q: If you could give any piece of advice to other youth joining the fight against plastic pollution, what would you say?
A: Activism is how you define it. You may not be a strong public speaker who can rally hundreds of people for the cause, but you may have an awesome talent for art and make statement banners for marches. Bring whatever makes YOU unique to the table because we need anyone and everyone in this fight.
Q: What is one of the most important lessons of activism you have learned?
A: One of the most important lessons of activism I have learned is that personal stories matter: my story matters. As activists, we fight for the world and for others, so we tend to leave our own struggles and experiences out of the narrative. Having a personal stake not only humanizes you as an activist (instead of becoming a martyr) but gives you that much more to fight for.
Q: Why is it so important to amplify the voices of people of color in the fight for climate justice, especially young voices?
A: The young voices of people of color carry generational knowledge and have been suppressed for too long. There were times when we were told that we had no place in society, only to wait a while longer to be told to hold our tongues to abide by respectability politics. Young voices of color bring unique solutions, different perspectives, and principled struggle to our fight that are rooted in our collective liberation. Not to mention, young people of color experience environmental racism, an issue that is rooted in climate justice.
Q: If you could say one thing to the leader of your state or country, what would it be and why?
A: I would tell President Joe Biden that we are here, our voices will be heard, and there is so much more work to be done. I would speak to Joe Biden in particular because he is the beam of our democracy right now; all eyes are on him. The struggle has just begun, and there is consensus that change needs to happen now. We will no longer settle for raising above the floor because it’s time to break the glass ceiling.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
A: I am looking forward to the next Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, and I highly recommend any parents or young readers looking at this blog to enroll in this awesome network if you haven’t already!
Rapid Fire Questions: What are you into right now?
Q: Activist You Admire?
A: Leah Thomas
Q: What You’re Watching/Listening To Right Now?
A: How to Save a Planet Podcast
Q: Fun Fact About You?
A: I taught myself how to read at 2 years old.
Q: Recommended Reading?
A: All We Can Save
Q: Reusable Item You Always Remember?
A: Bamboo Toothbrush