Sónia Ell

Why ocean literacy with Sónia Ell?

First of all, let us say Sónia Sousa Ell is a well experienced diver, a trainer and a promoter of awareness-raising educational actions in the areas of marine ecosystems preservation.

The sea was not her element. To face an inexplicable childhood fear of the sea she decided to learn from it and overcome her fear by becoming a certified diver. So, she traveled to Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, to take her initial diving course. After that, a few years later, she went to the Azores for taking her advanced scuba diving certification level. Since then, she dove in almost every ocean in the planet. Today, she says the sea is her true passion and her life only makes sense if she can keep on diving, studying marine ecosystems and sharing her knowledge with all the others.

The understanding and the acquired taste for the sea, gave her a new responsibility and a mission: to be an oceans’ protector. Bringing her passion and knowledge to others, she aims to generate a continuous true ‘domino effect’ into her audiences, with the known moto: ‘What we can understand, we love, what we love, we protect’.

Therefore founded a volunteer project of ocean literacy called <<When + 1 equals – 1>>. With it, she combined the sensibility for nature – gathered while growing up in the corridors of the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon where her father worked his whole life.

Today, and with more than 10 years of scuba diving experiences, she has hundreds of hours as a professional qualified trainer, in the areas of soft skills and ocean literacy.

Sónia project <<When + 1 equals – 1>> is built on three fundamental pillars:

– Marine litter: underwater collection, recording data, monitoring and submitting conclusions on specific scientific databases; sharing information with her audiences (schools, conferences, journalists). Within this framework, she got a certification as a Project AWARE ‘Dive Against Debris’ diver and since then she has been responsible for organizing several events on a national wide – from coastal clean ups with schools and other citizens’ groups, to underwater cleanup diving events in cooperation with Diving Centres and other institutional organisations;

– Circular economy: with educational training sessions promoting systemic thinking and paradigm shift from the linear economy to a circularity system to help decreasing the marine litter scourge. A hot topic, after her specialisation in Circular Economy at U.C. Berkeley, USA;

– Sharks: her favourites animal species, that she advocates from collective ignorance on every ocean literacy educational session she drives. The knowledge she shares to her audiences was gathered during the master classes taken on Marine Biology Faculty, Lisboa, and her individual studies and shark diving sessions, all around the world.

Based on her commitment and willing for a bigger ocean literacy to everyone, Sónia Sousa Ell integrates the SEI’s Board as one of our experienced Ocean’s Conservationist Trainers and Advisors. Since 2021 she’s also founder and a member of the Portuguese Association ‘SEI Portugal’ Direction Board.