In light of the celebration of World Water Day on Monday, this weeks’ Global Social Leaders spotlight is the Blue Marine Foundation!
Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is a charity dedicated to restoring the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. They believe that by addressing overfishing they can restore the ocean’s biodiversity, ensuring it can continue to provide critical ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration.
To introduce themselves to the Global Social Leaders movement, BLUE have written the below feature. Keep reading to find out more about how, when and why BLUE began, their aims, aspirations and impact, and how you can get involved!
Our ocean is in crisis. Marine life is under threat from climate change, acidification, pollution and invasive species. But these threats are compounded by overfishing, which strips the ocean of life, and so reduces its capacity to produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and regulate the climate. It’s estimated that almost 94% of commercial fish stocks are fully or overexploited and 90% of large, predatory fish are gone.
Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) was established in 2010 to address overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. Our mission is to restore the ocean to health by securing marine protected areas, developing models of sustainable fishing, restoring vital marine habitats, and connecting people with the sea.
BLUE knows that conservation projects are far more effective with local community support. We also know that conservation education will serve not only the ecosystems we aim to protect, but the communities and individuals that depend on them.
BLUE runs educational programmes around the world, engaging with local communities, fishermen and young people.
What have we done to date?
In collaboration with Planetari, BLUE created an educational ‘makerzine’ called An Ocean Adventure. With pop-up sections and interactive pages, the makerzine is a fun way of exploring the ocean – the creatures, the geography, the science, and the threats. By using illustrated examples from BLUE’s project sites, we enable children to visualise ocean conservation from anywhere in the world.
This makerzine is aimed at Key Stage 2 students (ages 7-11). To date, BLUE has distributed 3,500 copies of the makerzine to our partnering schools in London, Ascension Island, St. Helena Island and the Maldives.
If your school is interested in receiving copies of our makerinze, please contact email@example.com to find out more!
Our hands-on field work
BLUE delivers hands-on education programmes around the world. In the Maldives, we have established citizen science programmes which teach young people scientific field skills. We have also taken hundreds of school students snorkelling for the first time.
In the Aeolian Islands, Italy, BLUE is working with local marine biologists and small-scale fishermen to deliver an exciting marine education programme. Over the summer, we will be running a Seagrass Summer School, where dive volunteers can help collect vital data and improve their field skills.
What’s in the pipeline?
We know the ocean is greatly impacted by climate change. The water is becoming warmer, more acidic and the ice caps are melting. But the ocean also has some incredible functions that regulate and influence our climate. It absorbs 90% of our excess heat, absorbs carbon dioxide and ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs reduce the impact of extreme weather events.
We want to teach people about how the ocean is impacted by climate change, how we can help lessen those impacts and why marine conservation can help contribute towards the fight against climate change.
BLUE is building an interactive online hub that will highlight the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems, and how marine protected areas and low impact fishing methods can help to achieve this. We will also showcase blue carbon habitats, the rainforests of the sea, and how they absorb more carbon per unit area than a forest on land. For the user, it will feel like an underwater journey through lush seagrass meadows and colourful coral reefs, before exploring the open ocean alongside manta rays and yellowfin tuna!
Underpinning the online hub will be resources for teachers and plenty of ways to get involved. Most importantly, it will be free. Follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss the launch this summer!
How can I get involved?
- Learn more about the ocean and how you can protect it by checking out our free BLUE Digital Education You can also access our Secrets of St Helena app!
- Follow BLUE on social media and sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with new educational materials, initiatives and project news!
- Are you looking for some hands-on field experience? Get in touch with BLUE about potential volunteer experience opportunities with our Solent Oyster Restoration Project.
- BLUE is always keen to partner with schools! Get in touch if you would like to explore a potential partnership.