It didn't come as a surprise to me when, while watching The Blue Planet by BBC, I saw masses of plastic bottles, grocery bags and other plastic waste floating in the waters between and above some of the worlds most beautiful species. Then I was surprised when I found out that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Caroline Power, an underwater photographer released a selection of pictures which show the impact that our choices of easy and convenient lives have on Earths waters. David Attenborough calls the impact of plastic waste on wildlife "heartbreaking". It's time for us to do something about it.
Photo credit: Caroline Power
While researching charities and organisations whose goal is to save our oceans and seas, I bumped into a fairly new organisation founded in 2015 called Ocean Generations. It seemed different to all other organisations I came across. It is a movement, and one I want to be a part of.
I got a chance to ask the founder, Daisy Kendrick, some questions and to speak about the reasons behind her passion and why is it so important to her.
Photograph: screengrab/BBC NHU
What is Ocean Generation?
Ocean Generation is a global collective bringing the ocean and its importance to the most connected generation in history. We bring together creativity, entertainment, technology, brands and purpose to motivate our generation to save our oceans for people and planet.
We bring the oceans topic through music, mobile gaming and digital platforms to Generation Z to inspire attitude and behavioural changes.
We support communities affected the most by ocean deterioration, through ground projects on Small Island Developing States.
When and why start Ocean Generation?
I founded Ocean Generation while interning at the United Nations, New York, in 2015, when countries were drafting and implemented the Sustainable Development Agenda; a new and ambitious agenda with 17 goals to set the world free of poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
I was working for the small island developing state of Grenada and attended a lot of meetings around agenda goals associated with climate change and oceans. This is when I understood how much humanity was suffering, especially in communities on island states, because of climate change.
I began researching and felt there was a lack of motivating content to engage millennial/gen Z in the climate fight and that’s when I began Ocean Generation - rethinking the approach to climate and conservation, using music, gaming and tech to make it the issue that mobilises my generation.
Why is it so important?
The Oceans impact every aspect of our lives. They have rich eco-systems of biodiversity. Oceans cover over 80% of our planet, provide oxygen, stabilise our climate system, sustain livelihoods, and are the primary source of protein for over 3 billion people.
Yet the world loves plastic. We use it in everything. An estimated 8 million+ tonnes are dumped in the ocean every year and it is predicted by 2050, plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans. People, especially in the developing world, are going to bed hungry at night because there are not enough fish left to catch.
The world also loves carbon, causing ocean temperatures to rise as well as sea levels. The populations on Small Island Developing States are faced with the prospect of becoming climate refugees and widespread flooding can cause contamination to drinking water supplies and destroy arable land.
The list can go on, the oceans and people are under huge threat. Everyone everywhere is affected by ocean pollution and climate change.
What people can do to help?
Ocean Generation sees the power in now to change the future of our planet and to do so, we must raise awareness and educate people on the greatest challenge of our time.
The answer starts with us. A commitment to make small lifestyle changes. There are so many things in the world that are out of your control, but steps to reduce the amount of plastic, or to support sustainable products and innovation, will put us on the path to a better future.
Simple switches for today:
- Reduce plastic consumption by refusing plastic straws with drinks and using a reusable water bottles, cups and cuttlery.
- Recycle at home.
- Reduce your meat consumption. Be vegetarian. Be vegan. (Animal agriculture has a huge impact on ocean dead zones which has an awful effect on the marine life
How to get involved and donate?
Our donation links are not up and running yet – but in the future we will have links for people to support our island projects.
(However, I strongly believe the non-profit model needs to change and provide content, volunteer activities and experiences for young people to engage with as opposed to purely asking for donations which many orgs do).
What does the future hold?
A new wave of activism, action and change. Gen Z are the most informed and socially conscious generation that want to make a difference in the world by beginning to demand more sustainable products from brands. People are the new media, Gen Z are searching for companies with purpose and looking for brands that don’t just advertise sustainability but solve problems.
The impact that our comfortable lives have on the Earths ecosystem is extortionate. We keep on saying that one person can't change the world however, your own individual choices can make a big difference, choose with future in mind so next generations have an Earth to live on.
As always, with good vibes and gratitude,