Take a quick glance at Jarrod Scott’s Instagram profile (@jarrodscott, 56.5k followers) and it would appear you’ve stumbled upon the account of your average model-cum-influencer. High-fashion photoshoots? Check. Brand campaigns? Check. Rippling abs? Check.
Dig a little deeper, however, and it soon becomes clear that Scott is a man with a message. Liberally interspersed among the custom tailoring shots and #candids are passionate captions about sustainability, ocean health and the issue of plastic pollution.
Since early 2018, Australian-born Scott has been an ambassador for Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef; a global community movement designed to engage the world in the future of the Reef. “I’ve travelled to the Reef eight times for different Citizens GBR expeditions – most recently to the remote Blue Hole to test the methodology for the Great Reef Census, the world’s largest collaborative scientific survey exploring as much of the Reef as possible,” he says.
“The 14-hour trip out to the Blue Hole from Daydream Island was incredible – being so far from land for that period of time is humbling and, getting into the water, I wasn’t really prepared for what I was going to see. As the sun rose, it was calm and we were spoilt with perfect visibility and the most extraordinary discoveries.” Here he tells us what inspired him to take up the fight for the oceans and explains the changes we can all make to protect the environment…
I’ve always loved the ocean and have been interested in coral for a long time. When I was living in New York, I had my own reef tanks and learnt so much about reef ecosystems and their fragility by growing corals myself. Free diving and spear fishing are also big passions of mine.
Most of the world believes that the Great Barrier Reef is dead. It’s not dead, but it’s been severely damaged in some parts and its future depends on how we all act now. Up to 40% has never been surveyed and the status of most reefs is unknown. I hope that by documenting my expeditions people will understand that, although parts of the Reef are in recovery, there are sites that are pristine with 100% healthy coral cover.
"Coral reefs are home to more than a quarter of all marine life in our oceans. They are too important to lose."
Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef is experiencing the consequences of coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017 and urgent action, particularly on climate change, is crucial to its future. The Great Reef Census will provide valuable insights into the management of reefs all over the world, while also encouraging the global community to get involved in their ongoing protection. Coral reefs are home to more than a quarter of all marine life in our oceans. They are too important to lose.
There are many simple changes people can make to affect positive change for our oceans – be conscious and learn about the issues that are facing our planet. Adopt a few simple habits like saying no to single use plastic, living more sustainably, being aware of the impact the products you choose to purchase have on our planet and supporting strong climate policies politically.
As a model working in an industry that’s a big polluter I have a responsibility to try to make positive change where I can. Using my platform I can show things from my perspective and educate people through my own personal experiences. It’s great that models like Anja Rubik, Simon Nessman and Jon Kortajarena are committed to the cause too and are encouraging change within the fashion industry. Other brands are now catching up to Stella McCartney and realising that the agenda it set a long time ago is right for our planet.
We are all responsible for creating change. In October last year I made a pledge to stop using plastic bottles, straws and shopping bags, which is difficult with all of my international travel, but I’ve changed my habits completely. I choose to re-wear, re-use and support brands that are re-designing their production processes in a positive way.
Whenever I can I wear Australian brands like Venroy and Outland Denim because of their commitment to sustainable practices. I appreciate brands like JM Weston because of their responsible consumption values – they are committed to making sure their shoes last a lifetime. I also only wear sunscreen that is free from oxybenzone. Removing harmful chemicals won’t save the Reef as a whole (only climate action can do that) but removing additional stressors gives the coral the best chance to survive and recover.
I want to inspire as many people as I can to get involved in the Great Reef Census. I’ll be back on the Reef in November for spawning but it remains to be seen if we avoid another mass bleaching in Australia this summer. I’ll be documenting my experience and hope to educate people on the importance of protecting our oceans and conserving the Great Barrier Reef and reefs all over the world.
The Great Reef Census