In honour of World Oceans Day, throughout June we’re running sustainability challenges every week, themed around different positive environmental changes you can make in your everyday life. This week’s theme is raising awareness. Be sure to send in videos and photos of ways you’re raising awareness of the environment to be entered into our competition to win over £500 worth of awesome eco brands!
Why Is Raising Awareness So Important?
The world has never faced as many huge environmental problems as we do today. CO2 emissions and consequential climate change alone could end the world as we know it, let alone plastic pollution, over-fishing, over exploitation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the illegal wildlife trade. These are unprecedented times which require behaviour change on a mass scale to ensure a habitable world for our future generations.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’. This is one of the biggest issues for our oceans. Over 1.17billion people – 23% of the world’s population – live in cities. Typically, if you live in a city you have less access to green spaces and nature and therefore are not as exposed, first hand, to the negative impact humans have on nature – like trash washing up on beaches, or forests being cut down – and there is no doubt human activity is hugely responsible for damaging the environment.
Raising awareness of environmental issues is key to keeping sustainable living at the forefront of people’s minds, but also an opportunity to educate people and spread the word to help protect nature. Education is a key tool in creating change, and change is what is needed to save our world. Everyone has to make changes to live more sustainably and care for the environment, and education can be an important driver in making this happen. The more knowledge you have about a subject, the more likely you are to care about it and be able to make informed decisions.
What does Love The Oceans do?
At Love The Oceans we take our responsibility of raising awareness of the plight of the marine world very seriously and use a range of methods to reach different groups of people and start those important conversations around creating change and saving the environment.
We talk at around 40 different universities every year, and a large number of schools too. This is direct, and is to both students (always), their parents (sometimes) and their teachers & professors (more often than not). This provides a chance for a students to learn about the marine environment and Love The Oceans’ work, as well as meeting our researchers and learning about our specific projects.
Pascoal, LTO’s Community Outreach Manager has been leading lessons in the local area in Mozambique for 5 years, teaching basic marine resource management and LTO hosts international volunteers, groups, schools and universities every year to train them in our field biology techniques. Pascoals’ work creates change locally, in our local slice of paradise in Mozambique. Our marine expeditions that host international visitors creates change internationally – the hope being that people take these changes back to their home countries and raise awareness of environmental issues there, creating a widespread global impact. We have actually seen this happening in many cases – we have amazing volunteers!
LTO has recently reached 10,000 followers online (yay!) and we constantly use our online platforms to talk about environmental issues and encourage people to get involved (taking environmental action) or make a positive environmental change in their daily life. Our June Sustainability campaign has been doing just that and it’s been amazing to see everyone getting involved in our challenges and making swaps to live more sustainably. Check out our previous blogs to catch up on what those challenges have been and get involved!
Other ways LTO raises awareness are:
- Speaking on podcasts about our work and environmental issues
- Hosting a Live Q&A Series with guests to get different perspectives on conservation (due to start again in July)
- Posting articles written by our marine biologists on our blog
- Creating infographics for people to share
- Creating videos to engage with people
- Speaking at travel shows
What can you do?
There are SO many ways to help raise awareness and this is the fun bit – get your creative caps on!
Social media is a powerful tool in creating change. In 2019, internet users were spending an average of 144 minutes on social media per day – that’s over 2 hours! Even if most of that is spent watching cat videos and only a fraction is spent reading news and getting more information, that’s still a huge opportunity to raise awareness of environmental issues. The social media world has grown hugely in the last decade, and now there are so many ways you can reach people by creating different types of media. You can reach people through social media in lots of different ways: infographics, videos, art and many more.
Some cool Instagram accounts to follow (for some inspiration!) that use their platforms to raise awareness through different media types:
- Francesca Page – @francescaapage – artist of marine creatures
- Extinction Rebellion – @extinctionrebellion – events, news & actionable items around climate change
- Women in Ocean Science – @womeninoceanscience – showcasing different female researchers in ocean science
- Conservation Tribe – @conservationtribe – podcasts about conservation
- Photographers Without Borders – @photographerswithoutborders – storytelling through incredible photographs, along with actionable items.
Starting conversations is the key to raising awareness. So, whilst sharing things on social media can do that and can be a useful tool, simply having conversations with your friends and family about sustainability can help too. Changing people’s mindsets is essential to creating long-lasting change. You can take this up a notch and do a presentation on an environmental issue close to your heart, or you can get even more creative – one of our past volunteers wrote a play about plastic pollution after his time with us! The more creative the better, as it can spark people’s curiosity to learn more.
If you’re looking to do more than this, we suggest checking out Gina Martin’s book Be The Change. The book breaks down how to run a successful campaign, the steps involved, and how to create change.
We are all responsible for damaging the environment, so it is important that everyone improves their environmental awareness. Remember: individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.
Get your thinking caps on and send us what you come up with to raise environmental awareness! You can tag us, or direct message us on any of our social media platforms.