Our names are Emily Saunders and Dyfan Goode and we would like to formally introduce ourselves to the university community as two newly appointed Surfers Against Sewage ambassadors for the University of Plymouth and the surrounding area.
We are both final year undergraduates studying Ocean Science and Marine Conservation, so we are approaching you with the shared interest of wanting to support the marine environment as it continues to adapt and dodge the growing threats from climate change and the negative impacts of human interaction.
A few weeks ago we began our tasks as newly appointed ambassadors for the Ocean and Climate campaign, which was launched in partnership with the petition for the Ocean Climate Emergency. This initiative is calling on the UK government to ensure the ocean is at the centre of discussions at COP26 UN Climate talks in November 2021.
- Almost 100% of the public agree that not enough is being done to tackle the ocean and climate crisis,
- 96% of the public believe that the UK government needs to take urgent action to tackle the ocean and climate crisis,
- and 79% of respondents want to learn what they can do to help tackle the ocean and climate crisis.
Thanks to a lot of public engagement, we've already reached 22,519 signatures, 9,640 of which are school pupils. We aim to have 80,000 signatures by the end of the year.
Sign the petition here!
Something we both agree is a really important factor in this, is the option for entire schools to sign the petition. This will AMPLIFY the powerful voice of youth groups and allow younger generations to influence their future! (School teachers will sign the petition on behalf of their pupils).
We want the government to recognise the importance of a thriving ocean and to utilise its capacity as a solution, to the climate crisis.
We are calling for:
- ‘Ocean rewilding and blue carbon habitat restoration’- we want to see increased investment and interaction with emission targets to support depleted marine habitats that are significant in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- ‘Implementation of Highly Protected Marine Areas’- we also want to see much tighter regulations and more areas being promoted to Marine Protected Area (MPA) status’s to ensure both mobile and immobile species are now fully protected.
- ‘Recognition of the importance of marine ecosystems for human wellbeing’- we want the global government to recognise the pivotal role our oceans play in sustaining economies and societal wellbeing as well as defending our coastal communities against the threats of rising sea levels and climate change.
Our CEO: Hugo Tagholm, once defined our oceans as the natural “thermostat of the global climate system”. The oceans have always been the largest and strongest barrier we have in holding off the accelerating threats of climate change, but, we’re sure it's now common knowledge to the public that the threats are starting to leak through by: bleaching our coral reefs, destroying our mangrove forests and flooding and inundating our coastal areas to name but a few, and the statistics prove that the public is not content with this knowledge (96%).
Surfers Against Sewage mission:
“Is to encourage more people to become ocean activists by uniting, inspiring and empowering communities to take action to protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife”
Since joining the cause, we are both connected not only by our passion for protecting the ocean but now by this great cause and the way for us to promote our passions on a professionally recognised platform.
Alongside the petition, we have also launched the Ocean and Climate Report and the SAS Net Zero Action Plan. The report, specifically, highlights why this campaign is important and will hopefully inspire you guys to share it within your own social networks.
The 'Show the Love' campaign ended last Sunday - thank you all so much for your amazing efforts, it was lovely to see all your beautiful beach art - If you haven’t already, please send us photos of your plastic hearts or tag us on social media, we would love to see more of those!
‘Show the Love’ is a combined effort from around 140 organisations in the UK including the National Trust, Oxfam, RSPB etc. and around 22 million voices! This campaign is a celebration of everything we care about and want to protect from the climate crisis. The point of it is to create a voice for the oceans that is impossible to ignore.
It’s pretty straightforward - all you guys need to do is create a heart out of plastic collected on a beach clean (ideally blue or green, but you can get as creative as you want!) Share it on social media and if possible, send it to your local MP, or organise a heart display in your windows or front gardens.
The goal is to push our politicians to action by raising as many voices as possible, so we are calling on anyone who wants their regular beach cleans to have a stronger impact.
With the UN Decade for 2030 fast approaching, we’re at such a pivotal point in the health of our oceans. We are Generation SEA! We can’t let Greta be the only one who stands out from the crowd now, one voice needs to be recognised as the voice of millions now more than ever, and the youth of today, ourselves included, are the way to do it.
^ Photo taken and constructed by Dyfan Goode for #ShowtheLove.
By using the #ShowtheLove tag in social media posts, organisations like Surfers Against Sewage can highlight your combined efforts to national and international governments where these big decisions can be made and actually, finally, make a difference for our ocean’s livelihoods.
COVID-19 has impacted our practices in a huge way by stopping us from getting out to beaches in our little communities to tackle the problem upfront, but instead, it heightened the attention we all give to our social media pages and it's never been a better time to raise awareness and advertise for great causes like this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and any other platform.
Instead of the same demoralising talks about COVID at the dinner table why not enlighten your family tonight about amping up your recycling game a bit.
Thank you so much if you’re reading and we can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!
Dyfan and Emily