Beneath The Surface

Beneath The Surface with MSP Columnist, Dawn Bates

“More than meets the eye” is a very well known phrase around the world, regardless of which language it is spoken in.

Speaking multiple languages and living the nomadic lifestyle, always on the outside looking in, you get to see and hear more than most people. It is both a blessing and a hinderance.

I am currently in the north of Brasil at the time of writing this article and I have just returned from the beach. I was longing for an ocean swim, had checked the low tide times and had even eaten the compulsory banana for a potassium hit before swimming.

Arriving at the water’s edge I saw the oil tainted sand, and the blueprint of life pattern left by the water as it rejoined the mass of ocean from whence it came.

To the untrained eye, it was just darker sand, but to me, knowing what I know about the ocean and the environmental problems we have, the darkness spoke volumes.

With the recent oil spill just off the North-East Coastline of Brasil, first reported back in August 2019 and still an ongoing issue, I am not surprised I have discovered pockets of the spill in both Aracaju and San Miguel do Gostoso; two hot spots for tourism due to the beauty and tranquility of the places.

The really sad thing is though most Brasilieras live off a fish diet and many in the North East are fishermen who go out early in the morning bringing fish back to the restaurants in their local community and their family.

Eating this fish, playing and swimming in the ocean is poisoning the Brasilians slowly but surely, and no one is taking responsibility for the oil spill either, which has affected 2250km of coastline, damaging and killing off parts of the world’s second-largest coral reef, as well as the marine life and ecosystems.

The education system in Brasil is very much like that of any developing country, rotten to the core by corrupt governments wanting to keep the people from asking smarter questions, and living below the poverty line, which in Latin America is low.

With this petroleum going into the ocean, and the only oil rigs being located from Rio de Janeiro to Florianopolis in the South, and no one taking responsibility for the current spill, I am left wondering if this is yet another cover-up.

The Chevron Platform spill in 2011, situated in the Campos Basin, saw 2400 barrels of oil enter the ocean, and Chevron being fined US$28 million by the Brasilian government.  Where did this money go, because it didn’t go to the people, the cleanup, or the healthcare of Brasilians?

Add to this spill the 4.9 million barrels of BP oil spilt in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon spill, the largest in American history back in 2010, every piece of ocean-spanning from the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea down the coastlines of Brasil, and further south into the Antarctic, and we all have something to worry about.


Well, with the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill in 1989 still being cleaned up, fishing industries being wiped out, and this oil still negatively impacting the marine ecosystems, we as humans need to really start paying attention to the poisons we are absorbing into our bodies through our biggest organ: our skin.

I never intended to live a plant-based diet, never intended to become so careful about the products I use on my body, the food and drink I have, or the clothes I buy, but sailing around the world as a nomad you become aware of things most people are not aware of.

We need more conscious business models, products and services, and that starts with us being more informed and conscious ourselves.

Like I said, as nomads, we live on the outside of society, and the way we do business is different from others. We don’t have an in-person community, we don’t have a community full stop unless it is online or the week or two we stay in one location before moving on.

Doing business online, although it has become the norm over the last 18 months, is presenting us with an opportunity to learn more about the world we live in. It is giving us the opportunity to re-evaluate our leadership, our cultural awareness and how we serve humanity.

Social movements and collaborations are needed more now than ever as we discover more about the world we live in, the political agendas at play and the governments that are supposedly governing us.

Investing in a VPN is needed now more than ever for research purposes, and not just a change in the documentaries, programmes and movies we watch on Netflix.

The Authority Master Mind Collection I have created is not just a homage to the 22 years of my life’s work to coincide with my PhD in International Law and Social Justice, but because I am choosing to work with those around the world who see the bigger picture.

Those of us who have achieved a certain level of success, a position of influence now have even more responsibility on our shoulders to give a voice or a louder voice to the causes and problems we are learning of and seeing around the world.

With our freedoms comes more responsibility, and if we want our human rights recognised, then we have a duty to help others have their’s recognised, and if we don’t then not only are our human rights an illusion but why on earth are we even in business?

Whether it is oil spills, human trafficking, slavery, extreme poverty, or the slaughter of elephants for their ivory (yes that is still a thing and if we don’t do something about it soon the elephants will be gone), we have to wake up, collaborate and serve at an even higher level than we ever thought possible.

We are successful business and community leaders for a reason, the question is, what are we really doing with our success, money and influence which is truly benefitting the world and the future of humanity? 

Thought-provoking content is what Dawn is known for, as well as her non-stop travel around the world by sailboat and her trademark giggle. To learn more about Dawn, visit

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