November 8, 2019

Think Ocean: Ocean Conservation Trust campaign launched to get more people thinking about key role ocean plays to our survival

News Source: Evening Standard

Author(s): Edwina Langley

Global conservation charity, the Ocean Conservation Trust, has launched a campaign to get people thinking about the ocean.

This week, the charity, which focuses on habitat restoration and behaviour change, came to London to meet its ‘Ocean Advocates’, who have signed up to help it deliver its important message far and wide.

As the issues around climate change continue to gather momentum, the charity wants to ensure the ocean – which provides half of the air we breath – isn’t forgotten, and in a bid to bring it to the forefront of people’s minds and create more of a space for it in environmental conversations, is working with influencers from across the country highlight the work of the ocean.

The charity says the campaign – dubbed ‘Think Ocean’ - will take an optimistic approach to getting people to think about the ocean, shining a spotlight on happy memories, exhilarating experiences and benefits to wellbeing.

Although the charity welcomes the Government ban on items including single-use plastic straws and cotton buds it says it wants to see more conversations around the vital role that is played by the ocean and get everyone thinking about it in their daily lives.

Roger Maslin, CEO of the Ocean Conservation Trust, said: “The ocean drives the climate, makes the Earth habitable and sustains all life. Yet despite being vitally important in so many ways, its presence in the mainstream media and on the political stage is lacking. At the Ocean Conservation Trust, we want to change this and get as many people thinking about the ocean, in positive ways, as we can.

“Many of us have happy memories of the ocean, whether that’s a childhood day at the beach building sandcastles or a more recent adventure surfing with friends. But some of us have less obvious ones, too. If you don’t live near the beach, you might have gone for a swim in a river or lake, taken a walk beside a canal, visited an aquarium or tuned into calming ocean sounds as part of meditation practice – so whether directly or indirectly, it means something to us all.”

And head of conservation education and communications, Nicola Bridge, says the ocean plays a far greater role in our daily lives.

She said: “The ocean is a part of all of our daily routines, sometimes in ways that might surprise you. When you turn on your tap in the morning to brush your teeth, the water you use, as well as the algae in your toothpaste, comes from the ocean. When you watch TV or use the internet, some of the materials used to make that happen have come from the ocean. And when you buy your favourite foods at the supermarket, many of those have been shipped over to the UK, via the ocean. Most importantly perhaps, though, is the fact that every time you breathe, half of the oxygen you take in has come from the ocean – so we literally need it to survive.”

In January 2020 the charity says it will launch an additional conservation campaign helping people to live a more ocean friendly life.

Bridge added: “Our own experience, combined with a growing body of evidence, has shown that personal experiences and connectedness with nature are the foundation for lifelong support for conservation. Telling people facts and science isn’t enough to make them want to make changes in their lives to benefit the ocean – but experiencing and connecting with it, which makes people love and value it, is. Once they love it, they will want to take care of it – and only then will they be ready to change.

“Our approach, as a progressive ocean conservation charity, is to be optimistic, putting people at the centre of conservation and helping them to have these great experiences with the ocean and to appreciate it for all that it is.

"It’s then that we can begin helping them to understand how they can be a part of the solution. We can all do our bit to help if we Think Ocean. Ultimately, our aim is to inspire positive behaviour change to create a healthy ocean for our futures – and for the benefit and enjoyment of all.”

The Ocean Conservation Trust has educated more than 350,000 children school pupils about our ocean, as well as running conservation projects, across the globe.