Ocean Sustainability: A Call to Action for Teachers and Students

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The vast, blue expanse of our oceans is more than just a picturesque backdrop for our planet; it is a vital, life-sustaining entity that influences climate, weather patterns, and the very air we breathe. As teachers and students, understanding the importance of ocean sustainability and taking proactive steps to preserve this precious resource is essential for ensuring a thriving future for all forms of life on Earth.

Education Perfect (EP) includes a set of lessons on Ocean Sustainability and every year we run a Sustainable Oceans competition. It is free to take part and all students with an active EP licence across Australia and New Zealand will automatically be entered. ‘Sustainable Oceans 2024’ kicks off on 5 June, so share this blog post with your colleagues and students and inspire them to join EP’s awareness raising efforts to save our oceans.

Why Ocean Sustainability Matters

The oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface and are home to a staggering diversity of life, from the tiniest plankton to the largest whales. They provide numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits

Climate Regulation

Oceans play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate. They absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans and generate more than half of the world’s oxygen through phytoplankton photosynthesis.

Biodiversity

The oceans are teeming with life. Coral reefs, for instance, support approximately 25% of all marine species. This biodiversity is not just intrinsically valuable; it also supports fisheries, tourism, and medicine.

Economy and Livelihoods

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. The global ocean economy, including fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, and tourism, is worth trillions of dollars annually.

Food Security

Oceans are a significant source of protein for billions of people around the world. Sustainable fishing practices are crucial to ensure that this resource can continue to feed the growing global population.

Despite these critical functions, our oceans are under severe threat from human activities. Pollution, overfishing, climate change, and habitat destruction are causing irreversible damage. Learning about and acting on ocean sustainability is not just a choice; it is a necessity.

 

What We Can Do: Actions for Teachers and Students

To address the pressing issue of ocean sustainability, both teachers and students can take meaningful actions. Here are some strategies and activities to consider:

Education and Awareness:

Incorporate Ocean Literacy: Teachers can integrate ocean literacy into their curricula, covering topics such as marine biology, ecosystems, and the human impact on oceans. Understanding these concepts helps students appreciate the ocean’s importance and the need to protect it.

Promote Critical Thinking: Encourage students to think critically about the sources and consequences of ocean pollution and overfishing. Discussions, debates, and projects can help students develop solutions-oriented thinking.

Community Engagement: Organise or participate in local beach cleanup events. These activities not only remove harmful debris from shorelines but also raise awareness about the types and sources of marine litter. Or start a public awareness campaign. Students can create and lead campaigns to educate their communities about ocean sustainability. Using social media, posters, and community events, they can spread the message about reducing plastic use and protecting marine life.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Advocate for reducing single-use plastics, reusing materials, and recycling. Schools can set up recycling programs and encourage the use of reusable water bottles and lunch containers.

Sustainable Seafood: Learn about and promote the consumption of sustainably sourced seafood. Teachers can introduce students to resources like the Seafood Watch guide, which helps consumers make ocean-friendly choices, and develop one specific to their own country or region.

Advocacy and Policy: Encourage students to get involved in environmental advocacy. They can write letters to legislators, participate in public forums, and support policies aimed at protecting marine environments.

Support Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Educate students about the importance of MPAs, which are regions where human activity is restricted to conserve marine biodiversity. Supporting and advocating for the expansion of MPAs can significantly contribute to ocean conservation.

Citizen Science Projects: Engage students in citizen science projects that monitor ocean health. Programs like seabird or marine mammal sighting networks allow students to contribute to real scientific research.

Innovative Solutions: Encourage students to come up with innovative solutions to marine problems. Competitions, science fairs, and innovation labs can inspire students to develop new technologies or methods for reducing pollution and conserving marine life.

 

A Shared Responsibility

The journey towards sustainable oceans requires a collective effort from all sectors of society.

Education Perfect is committed to corporate sustainability. We aim to pursue responsible environmental strategies including influencing positive change on some of the world’s most critical challenges.

Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the next generation’s attitudes and actions toward ocean conservation. By embedding sustainability into education and fostering a sense of responsibility and stewardship in students, we can cultivate a culture that values and protects our oceans.

Students, as future leaders, scientists, and policymakers, have the potential to drive significant change. By learning about the challenges facing our oceans and taking proactive steps to address them, they can ensure that our oceans remain healthy and vibrant for generations to come.

Ocean sustainability is a pressing issue that demands immediate action. By working together, we can protect our oceans and secure a healthy, sustainable future for our planet. Take part in EP’s Sustainable Oceans 2024 Competition and raise awareness across your school. View our competition help guide here.

Last Updated
June 11, 2024
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