Gendall taking part in Ocean Literacy

What is Ocean Literacy? ... "Most European citizens are not aware of the full extent of the medical, economic, social, political and environmental importance of the sea to Europe and indeed to the rest of the world. Many of us are not aware of how our day-to-day actions can have a cumulative effect on the health of the ocean – a necessary resource that must be protected for all life on the planet Earth to exist." (Sea Change Project)

I (Laurence) was representing Gendall at a two day sprint put on by Wild Labs at Home in Bristol. People from lots of charities and backgrounds got together to try and figure out how to raise awareness of, and drive connection to the ocean. We particularly focused on schools and people who live in urban areas. It is a complicated term so we spent time to break down the meaning and find ways to articulate this in a more friendly way. We don't necessarily want more people surfing or on the beaches but we do want people to take more responsibility, and to know they have a role, even if they live many miles from the sea.

As we have views of the ocean from our window it is particularly relevant to all those who work at Gendall. We have a physical connection to the ocean but still we don't necessarily have a thorough understanding of the impacts, the life giving qualities and the importance. Plastics for example is right up on the agenda, people have some grasp of that now, but not everyone knows that really it's the oceans that are the lungs of the world rather than the rainforest.

There were lots and lots of ideas thrown into the mix, we talked about connecting people to the ocean through their water bills, we thought about interpretative panels in city centre rivers, therefore physically linking people to the sea. There were apps, virtual reality under water "planetariums" and some viral ideas. The above photo is me presenting some ideas to the group. There were some real winners that could really raise awareness quickly, but also some ideas that will see long lasting change, targeting the younger generation so we don't go back to bad habits.

Gendall are hoping to bring some of these ideas to life in the future. It was a great event, we met some awesome people that are all fighting for change, and we learnt a few new ways of working too.