COP28 Outcomes: The beginning of the end of fossil fuels

Young woman in a fashionable dress shirt floating in the Ocean. Her eyes are closed and she looks relaxed. Ocean Generation is sharing COP28 outcomes in this article with a focus on Ocean wins.

Everything you need to know about COP28 outcomes.

After a gruelling set of negotiations which dragged on well into the night, a new deal has finally been agreed at the UN climate summit COP28, in Dubai, UAE. 

COP28 outcomes: ‘Fossil fuels’ finally make the cut.

In the face of colossal opposition from the world’s oil producing countries, and despite the highest number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP than ever before, a global consensus has been reached. The world has finally agreed to transition away from fossil fuels.  

For the first time ever, the elephant in the room has been addressed. ‘Fossil fuels’ have made it into the official outcome agreement at COP28.  

Environmentalists celebrate the results of COP28 because for the first time ever, 
‘fossil fuels’ have made it
into the official outcome 
agreement at COP28.  
Shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean health and Ocean conservation.

This is the biggest step forward for climate since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. And the COP28 agreement signals the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.   

The agreement follows the widespread fury sparked by an earlier draft, which was deemed a “death sentence” by representatives from Pacific Island nations. The new document calls on countries to “contribute to global efforts to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner.” 

The deal also calls for a tripling of global renewable energy capacity and doubling of energy efficiency by 2030. 

Ocean Generation questions if the COP28 outcomes go far enough to fighting the climate crisis. Alone, it won’t keep global temperature rise below 1.5˚C. But it may help the world to get closer to net zero by 2050.

Does the COP28 Agreement go far enough 

Despite the standing ovations as the new COP28 agreement was passed, many nations have criticised the final decision. And there are concerns that it hasn’t gone far enough.

With just six years left until 1.5 degrees becomes inevitable, it’s not the “phase-out” that we had all hoped for.  

Put simply, the language of the text was weaker than many countries wanted.  

There was no mention of coal or methane (the most potent greenhouse gas). A finance path to aid the transition for developing countries was also missing. There was also no request for developed countries to take the lead on the transition away from fossil fuels. This raised further criticisms over the fairness of the deal. 

A ‘litany of loopholes’ scattered within the text provides enough ambiguity for fossil fuel producers to continue ramping up production. Examples include ‘abatement’ (A.K.A CO2 removal); ‘transition fuels’ (A.K.A gas), and ‘fossil fuel subsidies’ to name a few.  

Loopholes in the COP28 agreement text provide ambiguity for fossil fuel producers to continue ramping up production. Shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean health and Ocean conservation.

This will have devastating consequences. Particularly, for the most vulnerable communities who are already bearing the brunt of the worsening impacts of climate change.  

Opposition to the new deal was voiced by a representative of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The SIDS said: ‘You agreed the deal when we weren’t in the room’. This was meant literally (delegates from SIDS were still discussing their response to the text when it was agreed further down the hall). However, it also reflects that these nations feel overlooked, despite being the hardest hit by climate change.  

Does the COP28 Agreement go far enough 

The agreement alone will not be enough to keep global temperature rise below 1.5˚C. But it may help the world to get closer to net zero by 2050. That’s if individual countries put a rapid transition to green energy at the heart of their new NDCs. 

Here are some reactions from top climate scientists:

“At my lowest points as a climate scientist I did not think I would see a COP agreement that includes wording on the start of transitioning away from fossil fuels in my lifetime.”
– Prof Mary Gagen, Climate scientist, Swansea University  

“The agreement, though inadequate, is an essential and sustained baby step towards the goal of limiting human caused climate change.”
– Prof Richard Allan, Climate scientist, University of Reading 

Rainbow over the Ocean shared by Ocean conservation charity Ocean Generation

How does the Ocean fit into COP28 outcomes?

Multilateralism (alliance between countries to achieve a common goal) connects us all, and so does the Ocean.  

This was recognised during the Nature, Land Use and Ocean’s Day. Countries, non-state actors and other stakeholders came together in support of nature-based Ocean and climate action.

Here are our top three Ocean-wins from COP28: 

  1. The importance of maintaining the health of our Ocean is getting recognised.

    During the Nature, Land Use and Ocean’s Day, 18 countries pledged to implement Sustainable Ocean Plans. These plans are supported by the official launch of Ocean Breakthroughs.  

    These will provide a roadmap for change and aim to catalyse momentum across five key areas. Namely, marine conservation, shipping, aquatic food, coastal tourism, and marine renewables. These contributing countries represent 50% of the world’s coastlines and close to 50% of global Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ’s). 

  2. There’s an increased appreciation that the Ocean can provide solutions for mitigation and adaptation.

    $186 million of new funding was pledged towards investment in nature-based solutions and Ocean-action. The Mangrove breakthrough was also formally endorsed by 21 countries. Its global goal is to protect 15 million hectares of mangroves

  3. And a growing acknowledgement of the need for synergy between climate and biodiversity targets.

    The joint statement on climate, nature and people was signed by 20 countries. It seeks to align action on climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable development. It recognises that a healthy Ocean will provide benefits across all three avenues. 
Image of a woman and the Ocean. We cant solve the climate crisis without a healthy Ocean says David Eades, BBC Journalist and presenter. Shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean health and Ocean conservation.

What happens next?

For world leaders: While the COP28 decisions are not legally binding, Parties (countries) are obliged to act in accordance with the outcomes of this process. It’s time for world leaders to head home and begin delivering on the promises made. Individual countries are required to submit stronger action plans in their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2025.  

For COP: Fossil fuels have officially entered the global conversation. The work now begins to tighten this language and ensure a fair, equitable and just transition at COP29 in Azerbaijan, and beyond. To ensure a liveable planet and a healthy Ocean, we need a full ‘phase-out’ of fossil fuels before it’s too late. 

For us: Together, we must ride this growing wave of hope and momentum, to continue advocating for stronger Ocean-action.  

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What’s happened on our blue planet since COP27?

Hand reaching out into the Ocean water.

Extreme weather events and temperature records have made headlines more frequently in 2023 than ever.

The transition into an El Niño climate pattern (explained here) compounded by worsening impacts of climate change have resulted in an unstable year of weather patterns.  

This is a trend which is set to intensify in the coming years. 

The more often these events happen, the less headline-worthy they are and instead they simply become part of the norm. As the world turns its attention to climate change at COP28, we must recognise weather events as part of the larger-scale changes that are happening all around us, right now. 

It’s also important to celebrate the key breakthroughs for Ocean-action in 2023 and use these as a foundation to expand our future ambition at COP28 and beyond. 

The more often extreme weather events happen, the less headline-worthy they are and instead they simply become part of the norm.

Timeline of extreme weather events and Ocean wins that have made headlines in 2023: 

Our Ocean regulates global climate and is inextricably linked to these extreme weather events.

How the Ocean is linked to temperature records broken:

Over the course of 2023, we saw the warmest Northern Hemisphere summer on record and the hottest September ever recorded (average global temperature reached +0.66°C and +0.93°C warmer than the 1991-2020 baseline respectively).  

Unsurprisingly, since the Ocean absorbs 90% of the excess heat associated with climate change, these broken temperature records were not limited to land.  

The highest ever Ocean surface temperature was recorded in August 2023, as widespread marine heatwaves spread across the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Gulf of Mexico.  

This unprecedented heat stress caused a severe coral bleaching event in the Caribbean, during which the highest warning level alerted to significant coral mortality

September 2023 also saw the lowest mean winter sea ice extent ever observed in the Antarctic, with maximum coverage a shocking 1.03 million km2 below the previous record low. 

Scientists fear that this could mark the beginning of a long-term declining trend.  

Graph of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent in 2023 shared by Ocean Generation.

As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, our Ocean continues to warm.

Warmer water absorbs less carbon dioxide, and the Ocean’s ability to act as a buffer and protect us against rapid temperature change slows.  

How the Ocean links to storms and flooding events:

Weather systems are supercharged by our warming Ocean, as warmer water supplies more moisture and thermal energy to the atmosphere. 

This process drives intensified rainfall and more powerful storm and flooding events. 

For instance, Cyclone Freddy made landfall multiple times across Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar in February 2023, killing more than 1,000 people and displacing millions.

This was the longest-lasting tropical cyclone ever recorded (34 days long), and also broke the record for the most accumulated energy based on wind strength measurements. 

You’ve probably also heard of a phenomenon called ‘El Niño’ which has been linked to many extreme weather events this year.  

The Ocean absorbs 90% of the excess heat associated with climate change. Image of a dessert and the Ocean, showing how the Ocean is connect to everything on Earth.

What is the El Niño phenomenon? 

El Niño occurs due to the periodical weakening of trade winds in the Pacific Ocean. This pushes warm surface water towards the west coast of the Americas and drives changes in wind and weather patterns across the globe. 

The surprising impact of wildfires on our Ocean 

Wildfire events are growing in frequency and intensity across the globe, partly driven by rising temperatures, strong winds and drier conditions.  

In a surprising discovery, severe Australian wildfires in 2019-2020 were found to cause abnormal algal blooms in the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles downwind of the flames.  

It is believed that aerosols from the fire, which contain high levels of iron, phosphorous and other minerals, were transported downwind into the Southern Ocean. These minerals, which are usually in low supply in this region, acted as a fertiliser and caused abnormal algal bloom events. 

In a surprising discovery, severe Australian wildfires (2019-2020) caused abnormal algal blooms in the Southern Ocean. Image of wildfires and Ocean corals, showing how the Ocean is connected to everything.

Artificial fertilisation events can disrupt natural nutrient cycling and marine photosynthesis patterns in the Ocean.  

Further clues of these widespread impacts were seen in 2023. Huge wildfires in Canada burned all summer long, releasing persistent aerosol pollution over the Atlantic Ocean. Evidence of this was seen in the skies over parts of the UK in September, where incoming smoke diluted the sunshine, causing the sun to appear lilac in colour.  

Only time will tell the impacts of this year’s events, but it’s clear that wildfires can have far-reaching consequences on underwater ecosystems.  

Ocean wins giving us hope for the future. 

2023 has been a monumental year for Ocean wins. 

This year, we celebrated the agreement of the landmark High Seas Treaty, improved single-use plastic regulations, and the decision to pause deep sea mining among others. This is a sign of the ever-growing Ocean-recognition in local, regional, and global decision making.  

Whale tail breaking out of the Ocean. 2023 was a momentous year for Ocean wins. Ocean Generation is sharing the Ocean wins that happened in 2023 and a timeline of other extreme weather events.

Each Ocean win moves us one step closer to effective Ocean-action, and it does not stop here. At COP28, we need to see continued momentum to protect and safeguard our Ocean into 2024 and beyond.   

Stay up to date with COP28:  

We’re sharing bite-sized COP updates, commitments, and Ocean wins on your favourite social platform.  

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The Global Stocktake: Translated

Three diverse woem with the blue sky behind them.

What is the Global Stocktake and what has it told us about the progress we’re making in the face of climate change?

The Global Stocktake is the first comprehensive assessment of global progress made on climate change since the adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015.  

Essentially, it is a global inventory of all-things climate change: What progress has been made? What areas need more focus? Are we on track to meet our climate goals? (Spoiler alert…we are not). 

What is the global stocktake? The Global Stocktake is the 1st comprehensive assessment 
of global progress made on climate change since the adoption 
of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015. Shared by Ocean Generation.

In this critical decade for climate action, assessing collective progress towards climate goals helps us to identify key gaps, holds us accountable to our commitments, and allows us to work together to agree on solutions.  

The Global Stocktake provides an opportunity for leaders to course correct by ramping up global ambition and avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.  

The Global Stocktake consists of three phases  

  1. Data collection phase: 

Culmination of all available information across all thematic areas (including coastal zones, terrestrial and marine ecosystem services, food, water, and energy use).

  1. Technical phase:  

Evaluation of information to produce insights and summary reports, written by a range of stakeholders. The findings were culminated in a synthesis report. 

  1. Political phase: 

Negotiations, policy changes and decisions based on synthesis report findings.

This phase will take place during COP28 and is critical to determine how countries will respond. 

So, what does the Global Stocktake report tell us?

The Global Stocktake synthesis report is a 46-page technical dialogue which serves as a factual resource and provides a comprehensive overview of the outcomes from phases one and two.  

Key finding 1: 

While the Paris Agreement has driven climate action, we are not on track to meet its goals. Ambitions and action must be ramped up to get us there.  

Image of speed boat in the Ocean making a circle in the water. Ahead of COP28, Ocean Generation - a global Ocean charity shares - While the Paris Agreement 
has driven climate action, 
we are not on track 
to meet its goals.

Key finding 2: 

Climate change must be addressed within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tougher, more transparent accounting measures are needed to accurately assess the credibility of climate contributions.  

It is vital that marginalised groups (including women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples) are stakeholders to ensure that everyone can actively participate in these efforts.   

Key finding 3: 

The large-scale systems transformation needed will be disruptive, so they need to be equitable. 

Example transformations include shifting the current ways in which we get around to low-carbon forms of transport. This will involve shifting ownership from petrol and diesel to electric cars, and the entire reconfiguration of public transport networks. 

Systems transformation also applies to the food and agriculture sector. We must find a way to reduce the land-footprint of agriculture, halt and reverse deforestation, and effectively manage fish stocks. All while simultaneously increasing production to provide for the ever-growing number of human mouths to feed.  

These are the systems which underpin how we live our day-to-day lives, and they need to be transformed to better align human society with a climate-positive future. Therefore, it is vital that we focus on inclusion and equity to ensure that no-one is left behind.  

Those most affected by climate impacts should be involved in crafting the solutions. 

Key finding 4: 

Global emissions are not in line with where they need to be, and the window to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels is closing rapidly.  

Global emissions are not in line with where they need to be, and the window to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels is closing rapidly.

According to the IPCC AR6 Report, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak between 2020 and 2025 to limit warming to the Paris Agreement temperature goal. Global emissions have not yet peaked.  

Key finding 5: 

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs – self-determined plans put in place by each nation to achieve its climate goals) must be more ambitious.  

More leadership in reducing emissions is needed, particularly from developed countries.  

Key finding 6: 

Systems change is needed from everyone, everywhere.
No sector can escape the need for transformation.  

Two hands holding up a replica of the planet, symbolising that to take climate action change is needed from everyone, everywhere. No sector can escape the need for transformation. And everyone must look after our planet. The planet is in our hands.

Key finding 7: 

A fair, just transition can be applied to a range of different approaches and contexts, at different stages of the journey.  

Goals should be set in reasonable, manageable chunks to reduce the negative consequences of rapid systems change.  

Key finding 8: 

We must diversify the economy to cope with the changes that are needed.  

This includes contributions to the loss and damage fund agreed at COP27 and may involve restructuring entire supply chains.  

Key finding 9: 

We must secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.  

No-one is safe from climate change, and greater focus (and funding) is needed to reduce, adapt, and respond to these impacts.  

This is particularly vital for communities who are already feeling the effects but are neither prepared nor able to recover from disasters.  

Key finding 10: 

Climate planning must be coherent amongst all sectors and regions, and adaptation measures need to be more streamlined, ambitious, and ubiquitous.   

Word cloud of all 17 of the findings from the global stocktake: our planet's first assessment - country by country - of the progress we're making in the face of climate change; created by Ocean Generation.
Word cloud of the most-used words in the 17 findings from the Global Stocktake Report, 2023.

Key finding 11: 

Lots more support for locally led adaptation methods is needed. This includes improving access to critical resources and information, to empower communities forge their own solutions.  

Key finding 12: 

Despite the 1.5°C benchmark, we need to understand that impacts will worsen with every fraction of a degree of global warming, particularly for vulnerable communities who are already affected.  

It is vital that we do not exceed certain thresholds and ‘tipping points’ which will lead to irreversible changes. Filling knowledge gaps is crucial to identify these tipping points and effectively avoid them.   

Key finding 13: 

Climate finance is inadequate and needs to be urgently improved and scaled-up.  

Key finding 14: 

Access to climate finance in developing countries needs to be enhanced. 

Key finding 15: 

Finance and investment flows need to be directed towards the energy transition and away from greenhouse gases.   

Clean technology (eg. Renewable energy) is crucial to tackle climate change.

Ways of implementing this include:  

  • De-risking investments in clean-energy technologies. 
  • Creating pipelines of investible products for adaptation and mitigation. 
  • Subsidies. 

Key finding 16: 

Clean technology (eg. Renewable energy) is crucial to tackle climate change. A reduction in cost and push towards scalability is needed to rapidly deploy existing technologies and effectively integrate them into grid systems.  

More research is also needed to understand the role of technology and innovation (such as Carbon Capture and Storage) in supporting the transition.   

Key finding 17: 

We need international cooperation to reduce the barriers to climate action.  

This would involve empowering each nation to assess their climate risks and seek ways to improve them.   

breaching wave shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean education

What happens next?

The Global Stocktake is a vital tool to catalyse the urgency we need for robust, decisive action at the scale that is needed.  

It will enter the political phase during COP28, where discussions will take place and a new round of NDCs will be released. These decisions will determine how the world responds to this information at such a critical stage of the climate crisis.  

Read: Everything you ned to know about COP28.     

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What to expect from COP28

Hand reaching out into the Ocean water.

Everything you need to know: COP28.

It’s almost time for the world to come together once more, at COP28, to discuss our climate change commitments. 

Ahead of this year’s summit, the Global Stocktake provided a useful inventory of current progress toward global climate goals. COP28 will therefore represent an important opportunity for course correction and increased ambition towards Ocean-climate action.   

What is COP all about? 

What is COP? The Conference of Parties is the annual conference and decision-making body for global climate change commitments. Definition of COP on an image of a woman with short hair, walking away from a singular yellow chair on a beach. Shared by Ocean generation in an article about COP28 expectations.

The Conference Of Parties (COP) is an annual conference where the main decision-making for global climate change commitments takes place. 

And when is COP28? COP28 will be held between 30th November – 12th December 2023, at Expo City, Dubai, UAE.  

The formal goals of COP28 are:

  1. Energy and emissions: 

Phase-down demand for, and supply of all fossil fuels, leading to an energy system free of unabated fossil fuels by 2050 (which basically means we’d be free of fossil fuels used and produced without interventions to reduce the greenhouse gasses they emit throughout their life cycle).  

This includes tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements across sectors by 2030.  

  1. Finance 

Ensuring that climate finance is affordable, available, and accessible to developing countries, by delivering the annual investment in climate action needed by 2030.  

  1. Putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods first: 

Investing in people and nature through the loss and damage fund and encouraging all parties to align climate action with biodiversity targets, since one cannot exist without the other.  

  1. Inclusivity:  

Commitments towards strengthened collaboration with marginalised groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, youth, people of determination, subnational actors, and faith-based organisations.  

There is no room for phasing-down the use of fossil fuels in a net zero world. We must phase-out fossil fuels to protect our planet. Quote shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean health.

Why is COP28 controversial?

COP28 has received a lot of attention from the media, particularly regarding this year’s COP President’s position within the fossil fuel industry. 

Dr Sultan al-Jaber is the minister of industry and advanced technology for UAE, and the managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC Group). 

Concerns have been raised about the impartiality of climate talks and the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists, for whom blocking fossil fuel phase-out is within their economic interest. 

For instance, ADNOC announced a five-year, $150 billion investment in fossil fuel expansion in November 2022.

This is predicted to produce 7.5 billion barrels of oil and gas, 90% of which would have to remain in the ground to meet the International Energy Agency’s net zero emissions scenario. 

How can we spot when climate-dialogue is shifted towards the interests of the fossil fuel industry? 

Decoding climate dialogue – it’s all in the wording: 

When navigating climate conferences, it’s important to understand key terms and phrasing which may open loopholes and derail progress. 

Accurately decoding the dialogue helps us to stay diligent, see past greenwashing and spot false solutions. 

This is particularly important during discussions on topics which divide the crowd.

Two little penguins on ice in the Antarctic. The accompanying wording reads: When navigating climate conferences, it’s important to understand key terms and phrasing which may open loopholes and derail progress. Shared by Ocean Generation as part of their series of everything you need to know about COP.

Here are some key phrases to look out for this year: 

  • Unabated fossil fuels:  

Fossil fuels burned without using technologies to capture the resulting CO2 emissions.

  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) 

The relative importance of CCS remains contentious in climate discussions. 

What is CCS?

Carbon capture and storage is a process used to capture the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity, transporting it, and storing it deep underground.

The science tells us that while CCS has the potential to play a key role in meeting climate change targets (eg. For heavy industry that’s much harder to decarbonise. And once we reach net zero, it can help tip us back the other way), but it’s not the silver-bullet solution to the current problem. 

Focussing on mobilising CCS instead of simply keeping fossil fuels in the ground is a distraction. It delays the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels that needs to happen. 

  • Phase-down emissions 

There is no room for phasing-down in a net-zero world; we must phase-out.  

The use of the word ‘emissions’ also deliberately omits fossil fuels from final decisions. This ambiguous phrasing provides a loophole for their continued growth and development. 

The focus must therefore be on ‘phasing-out fossil fuels.’ 

Ocean spotlight at COP28: 

Motorised boat on a dry stretch of land that should be water. The words read: Our Ocean is increasingly recognised in global climate dialogue and will take the spotlight at COP28 during the ‘Nature, Land use and Oceans’ thematic day (9th December 2023). This dedicated day aims to support climate-aligned and nature positive use of land and Ocean systems.  

This reflects the increasing focus towards ‘blue ambition’ and the growing recognition that when we protect the Ocean, we also protect ourselves.

Our Ocean is increasingly recognised in global climate dialogue and will take the spotlight at COP28 during the ‘Nature, Land use and Oceans’ thematic day (9th December 2023). This dedicated day aims to support climate-aligned and nature positive use of land and Ocean systems. 

This reflects the increasing focus towards ‘blue ambition’ and the growing recognition that when we protect the Ocean, we also protect ourselves. 

Ocean action is climate action and climate action is Ocean action. 

Ignace Beguin Billecocq, Ocean Lead for UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
Are the conversations at COP going to cut it? We need action, not promises. Implementation, not good intentions. This article runs down Ocean Generation's expectations for COP28.

Ocean Generation’s hopes and expectations for COP28: 

We will always welcome more commitments to safeguard our Ocean, but this year we want to see promises turn to progress, and ideas turn to action.

This includes:  

  • Decarbonisation across every sector.  

New research suggests that we have less than six years before global warming of 1.5°C is inevitable. Rapid, widespread reduction of CO2 emissions is essential to steer us away from this fate. 

Decarbonisation efforts should seek alternative fuels and port infrastructure for Ocean shipping, enabling technologies to connect new and existing marine-renewable energy to the grid, and strengthened net-zero commitments across fisheries and aquaculture supply chains.  

Opportunities to incentivise emissions reductions within the Ocean-tourism sector should also be considered. 

  • Strengthening of mitigation and adaptation commitments.  

Commitments made in the landmark High Seas Treaty agreement earlier in 2023 must be actioned in climate policies, to meet the goal of protecting 30% of the Ocean by 2030. Focus must also be drawn to the remaining 70%, to build progress toward the Ocean we need.  

Further restoration and protection of “blue carbon” ecosystems (such as seagrasses, mangroves, tidal marshes) within exclusive economic zones must be included in national commitments to ensure their sustained benefits (such as carbon sequestration and flood protection).  

  • Mainstreaming Ocean-action.   

Now, more than ever, widespread recognition of our Ocean’s pivotal role in combatting climate change is vital. 

We need increased Ocean-recognition in global climate dialogue, and countries must commit to mainstreaming Ocean-actions into their national commitments.  

These Ocean-climate solutions must be integrated into biodiversity goals since one cannot exist without the other.   

Blue carbon ecosystems reduce impacts of climate change. What are blue carbon ecosystems?   Blue carbon is any carbon stored by the Ocean so blue carbon ecosystems are ecosystems that make that carbon storage in the Ocean possible. Examples include mangrove trees, salt marshes and sea grass meadows.
  • Inclusive and mobilised solutions for all.   

No-one is safe from climate change, so no-one should be left out of forging solutions.

We need full empowerment and collaboration with marginalised groups, especially those that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Community-led marine management should play a central role, and this must be enabled by providing access to critical resources and information.  

Stable and accessible finance flows are needed to provide a healthy Ocean for all.   

  • Filling knowledge gaps in this critical Decade for Ocean Science.  

Strengthening of Ocean-focused research and standardised data sharing is critical to effectively implement and manage Ocean-actions.  

How to stay up to date with all things COP28 

Follow Ocean Generation on your favourite social platform for COP updates, progress, Ocean wins, and actions.  

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7 Ocean wins from COP27

Incredible Ocean photo. Waves of the Ocean are in a spiral formation.

Everything you need to know: COP27 outcomes.

COP27 was the third longest COP in history – but what Ocean and planet wins did the global climate summit deliver?

One things was strikingly clear throughout COP27: Climate change has become mainstream.

Global coverage of the biggest climate summit made headlines through the weeks, providing hope or despair, depending on where you looked.  

Planet Earth from space. Text on the image of our blue planet reads: The time for climate action is now. Together for implementation. In this article, Ocean Generation shares what Ocean wins came from COP27 and climate action we can take to look after our blue planet.

What was the biggest win at COP27? 

The push for stronger climate financing measures resulted in the historic outcome of establishing a ‘loss and damage fund’. Although the finer details hadn’t been drafted at the end of the climate conference, this was still the prominent highlight of COP27.

This fund will only be available for developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate-related disasters. This is a crucial win for small island nations.

What is loss and damage, in the context of climate conversations?

In a COP27 interview, Dr. Kees van der Geest, Senior Migration Expert, United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), explained what loss and damage means in a nutshell: 

“I’ve been working on it [loss and damage] for 10 years. ‘Loss and damage’ is really about situations; where people live in places where the impacts of climate change are so severe that adaptation is no longer possible or feasible. It is not necessarily a future scenario because that is the lived reality for some people now.” 

Read: Here’s an article about the loss and damage fund established at COP27 for further reading.

6 images in a grid presenting various environments on Earth and how climate change impacts us all. Image 1: Two children look out at the Ocean; a rainbow is over the Ocean. Image 2: A dry planet with rocks/ Image 3: A young woman in a business suit running along the beach. Image 4: A green turtle raising its head to the Ocean's waterline. Image 5: An aerial photo of trees; mist is rolling in. Image 6: Hands of a person reaching into dirty drinking water. Text on the image reads climate changes us all.

What was the biggest disappointment of COP27?  

With global warming at 1.1C, COP27 proved that the scientific consensus of limiting warming to 1.5C was not being taken seriously enough. The final decision made no mention of phasing down fossil fuels, except for coal, with the power of fossil fuel delegates tremoring through this decision.  

The IPCC (a kind of survival guide for humanity) stresses that global emissions must decline 45% by 2030. If we want to keep this limit alive, we need to peak global emissions by 2025.

This does not mean that we should just wait until COP28 in hopes of sweeping action.

In every corner of the world, people are rallying together to implement ambitious initiatives and COP27 has also shed light on many positive developments.

For people and the planet. 

And the Ocean!  

Close up photo of the Ocean. Little ripples in the water show how delicate the movement of the Ocean can be be.
In this article about Ocean wins at COP27, Ocean Generation shares outcomes of the worlds biggest climate sumit.

Seven Ocean wins from COP27: 

1. Young people are part of the decision-making progress.

COP27 hosted a Youth and Children Pavilion, marking the first official space for young people at a COP.

Another milestone came from YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the UNFCCC, being recognised as stakeholders in designing and implementing climate policies.

2. Enthusiasm for the energy transition.

Despite the disappointment with curbing fossil fuels, the enthusiasm for a just energy transition is undeniable. Renewable energies are here to stay.

Some of the renewable energy transition commitments include:

  • Tanzania updated their NDC to achieve 80% adoption of renewable energies by 2025 (from 60% in 2015).
  • The Just Energy Transition Partnership for Indonesia which launched at the G20 summit, in parallel to COP 27, will secure $20 billion from wealthy economies to scale up renewables like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal.
3. The Global Methane Pledge gains momentum.

In the first week of COP27, we shared that 130 countries has joined the Global Methane Pledge. By the end of COP27, that number grew to 150 countries.

4. Decarbonising the shipping industry is a serious priority.

There has been massive mobilisation to curb shipping emissions.

Text quote on an image of a shipping boat out at sea. It reads: "If shipping was a standalone economy, it would be the 10th largest emitter." Quote by President Joe Biden.

Some of the measures include:

  • More countries, ports and companies stated their plans to support the Green Shipping Challenge. Here’s a list of the various announcements made.
  • The EU’s “Fit for 55” package proposal includes the first ever carbon market for shipping and adoption of cleaner fuels.
  • Noteworthy policy recommendation: No one country is responsible for a majority of shipping emissions but a study conducted by Transport & Environment showed that a zero-emission mandate in EU, China, and US could decarbonise 84% of global shipping. 
5. The Ocean is part of the final COP27 cover decision.

In 2022, the Ocean had a seat at climate conversations at COP27.

The importance of Ocean-based climate action was highlighted and the COP27 cover decision emphasised this need and encouraged nations to “blue” their NDC’s.

6. Funds will be made available for early-warning systems.

Vulnerable nations need early-warning systems for adaptation and building resilience. UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced a $3.1 billion plan to support the development of these systems to protect people within the next five years.

7. Spotlight on nature-based Ocean solutions.

We cannot address climate change without considering the Ocean.

As more people realise this, we’re seeing great initiatives that support protecting the Ocean and ensuring its health:

  • The Great Blue Wall Initiative aims to protect marine areas to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming. 
  • Hope for Coral Reefs – Egypt announced protection for the entire Great Fringing Reef in the Red Sea, creating a 2000km marine protected area (MPA).  
  • The Mangrove Breakthrough Alliance aims to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves globally, by 2030, through collective action.  
  • The Convex Seascape Survey is a research programme aiming to provide critical data and insights on the connections between carbon and the Ocean.  

“The Ocean and nature are our greatest allies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as conservation efforts have a “triple bottom line” in that they address economies, communities, and nature.” 

Razan Al Mubarak, President, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 
Image split in two; horizontally. In the top half there is a city skyline representing people. In the bottom image is a coral reef; representing the Ocean. Ocean Generation's brand trust circle is in the center of the image. Ocean Generation is a registered Ocean charity teaching the world about the Ocean and how to live sustainably.

Ocean Generation’s comment on COP27: 

Like any other COP, there is always going to be tension between progress and potential setbacks.

While there will always be room for doing more and better, COP is the only summit where world leaders and multiple stakeholders come together to discuss our environmental impacts and implement solutions.
And without it, the conversations would be more diluted, disjointed, and slow to progress.  

The progress made year on year at COP should translate into hope for all.

The decisions we make in this decade will have long-lasting impacts and we hope the Ocean continues to receive exponentially more importance in COP28’s agenda in 2023.

In the midst of increasing climate-related disasters perpetuated by other crises, hope can be instilled through action. We need the Ocean more than it needs us. So, let’s act now – in whatever position, wherever we are. However big, however small.

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The History of Fast Fashion

Green leaf poking out of a jean pocket, representing sustainable fashion. Shared by Ocean Generation.

A brief history of fast fashion and its impact on the planet. 

100 billion items of clothing are produced every year. That’s a 50% growth in just 15 years and the main culprit for this growth – fast fashion – shows little sign of slowing down. 

We’ve stitched together a brief history of fast fashion; from when fashion become fast, the impact it’s had on our blue planet, and what we can do to become sustainable fashion devotees.  

First: What is fast fashion?

Fast fashion can be defined as low-cost, trendy clothing rapidly produced by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.  

The focus of fast fashion is affordability and convenience – largely at the cost of people and the planet.  

Fast fashion plays into the idea that outfit repeating is a fashion faux pas. If you want to stay relevant, it’s believed you should be sporting the latest looks while they’re happening.  

Overproduction and overconsumption has resulted in the fashion industry being one of the world’s largest polluters. Jump here to read about the environmental impact of fast fashion.  

But how did we get here?  

Definition of fast fashion: Fast fashion is low-cost, trendy clothing rapidly produced by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. Fast fashion has a massive impact on our planet. Ocean Generation is sharing a brief history of fast fashion.

Once upon a time, in a slow fashion world

More than 20,000 years ago, people began hand sewing; using animal bones and horns as needles.  

Up until the early 1800’s, most people raised sheep or saved up to purchase wool to spin yarn to weave cloth and hand sew… You get the idea. 

Adding garments to your closet was a slow, infrequent process, driven by seasonal changes and growing pains. 

When was the first sewing machine invented?

It was only in 1830 – during the Industrial Revolution – that the fast fashion story really starts with the invention of the sewing machine. 

Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor, invented a sewing machine that used a hooked needle and one thread to create a chain stitch (which is still commonly used in denim jeans). 

The first sewing machine was invented in 1830 by
Barthelemy Thimonnier. It had a hooked needle and created a chain stitch, which is still used on jeans today. Shared by Ocean Generation in the history of the fashion industry article.

With the advent of the sewing machine, clothes became easier, quicker, and cheaper to make. Clothing began to be made in bulk, in various sizes, rather than just being made to order. 

Dressmaking shops emerged to cater to the middle classes and – for the first time – people started wearing clothing for style, not just practical reasons.  

The fashion industry used to be slow. Sweatshops were the beginning of the end of that.

Shared by Ocean Generation this is a sweatshop of Mr. Goldstein, 30 Suffolk Street, New York City, photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine, February, 1908

What is a sweatshop?

Sweatshops are factories or workshops, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at low wages for long hours and poor (or downright illegal) working conditions. 

To cater to the demand for clothing, sweatshops emerged in the 1800’s (and don’t be fooled: They still exist today.) 

“Fast fashion isn’t free. 
Someone, somewhere,  is paying.” 
Quote by Lucy Siegle regarding the fashion industry. In the image, an asian woman wears pink gloves poised under her chin.

Clothing becomes a form of personal expression: 1960s

By the 1960s and 1970s, young people were creating new trends and using clothing as a form of personal expression. 

There was increasing demand for affordable clothing. Textile mills opened across the developing world, and low-quality, mass-produced clothing took over.  

Shopping for new clothes became a hobby and a means of social status.  

When was the term fast fashion coined? 

In 1990, the New York Times published an article using the term ‘fast fashion’ for the first time. The piece was about a new fashion retailer with a mission to transform a garment – from an idea in the designer’s brain to being sold on racks in store – in only 15 days.  

This was the first article ever published using the term fast fashion. In 1990, the New York Times published an article about Zara stores coming to New York. Ocean Generation is sharing the impact of fast fashion on the planet.

It’s safe to say fast fashion had arrived.  

By the mid-1990s, online shopping took off – accelerating what was already a dizzying rate of textile consumption.  

No matter where you are in the world, chances are: If you see an outfit you like, online, you can buy it and have it on your doorstep in days. But at what cost?  

Two sets of socked feet are up in the air. One pair of feet is wearing green socks and the other is wearing mustard yellow socks. They are both wearing white strappy high heels and blue jeans.

Being fashionable shouldn’t cost the earth.  

All areas of fast fashion – super speedy production, use of synthetic fibres and dangerous chemicals, and competitive pricing – have massive negative impacts on our blue planet and the people involved in garment manufacturing.  

What’s more: Rapidly changing trends and clothing available at shockingly cheap prices instils a throw-away culture; as though clothing isn’t meant to be long-lasting or worn more than a few times.  

5 fast facts about fashion’s environmental impact.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg.

We’ve hardly touched on overconsumption, water usage, waste and haven’t even mentioned microplastics yet.  Read more about the impact of textiles on people and the planet.

Woman breaking through a piece of clear plastic with her hands. Learn about plastic pollution with Ocean Generation.

How does fast fashion impact the Ocean?  

Textiles in the fashion industry generally fit into two categories: Natural and synthetic.  

Natural materials (like wool and cotton) are made from plant and animal sources. They tend to be more expensive and last longer.  

Fast fashion relies on the cheaper (less, environmentally friendly) option: Synthetic materials. You’ll recognise these plastic-based materials in your clothing: Polyester, acrylic, and nylon. 

Synthetic fibres make up almost 60% of annual fibre consumption. Said differently: Our clothes are around 60% plastic. 

More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the Ocean.  

Rainbow over the Ocean. It's like the Ocean is a pot of gold and really: it is. Our Ocean provides us with many resources and produces half the oxygen on Earth. Learn about the Oceans with Ocean Generation.

These synthetic fibres produce non-biodegradable waste that pollute the Ocean. How? A single 6kg laundry load releases up to 700,000 synthetic microfibres which pass through our drains and into our Ocean. 

Once in the Ocean, microfibres are ingested by Ocean life and end up making their way back up the food chain, to us, and pose numerous health risks.  

We can put fast fashion out of style.  

More and more, consumers are demanding sustainable clothing and calling out the true cost of the fashion industry. As a result, we’re starting to see some changes in the fashion industry, but there’s a long way to go.  

As recently as 2018, the fashion industry produced ~2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. Luckily for us, we can all directly influence the fashion industry and the impact it has.

As individuals, the first thing we need to tackle is our relationship with consumerism. 

Asian woman surrounded by a pile of clothing. Just her face showing amongst all the clothing and textiles. This photo represents the overconsumption in the fashion industry.

“What can I do to tackle fast fashion?” 

  • Continue to learn about how to spot fast fashion brands (then steer clear of them). 
  • Embrace buying less fast fashion items. (In a week or two, that item will be out of fashion anyway, right?) 
  • When you do shop for clothing, ensure you’re purchasing with long-term wear in mind. 
  • Support responsible, ethical clothing brands.  
  • Buy second hand. 
  • Only wash your clothes when they’re actually dirty.  
  • Be an outfit repeater (re-wear your clothing until it really is end-of-life). 
  • Repurpose clothing when they’re end-of-life. 
  • Remember that the most sustainable piece of clothing you have is the one already in your closet
  • Join the Wavemaker Programme for tools to accelerate your social actions. 
  • Subscribe to our newsletter for Ocean news, stories, and science.  

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The History of Climate Change

A century of climate science history: Explained.

These days, you can’t go a week without the impacts of climate change making headlines – but that wasn’t always the case. When climate science first appeared in the media, it was batched with conspiracy theories and radical ideas.  

Now, we know better.

We’re hopping in a time machine to unpack the history of climate change, greenhouse gasses, global warming, and why climate skeptism existed for so long. 

When did climate science first make the news

Over a hundred years ago (hello, 1912), the Titanic set sail and sank, zippers were invented, Oreos were created. And Breaking News: Climate change entered the news for the first time.  

This caption appeared in the March 1912 publication of ‘Popular Mechanics’, directly linking burning coal and global temperature change: 

Snapshot of a caption that appeared in the March 1912 publication of ‘Popular Mechanics’, directly linking burning coal and global temperature change.

Several months later, on 14 August 1912, a paper in New Zealand re-shared the now-famous caption. They titled it: “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate.”

But before these publications, fundamental climate science was already understood.  

On 14 August 1912, a paper in New Zealand re-shared a now-famous caption titled: “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate.” 

Burning coal and climate change, for the first time, were linked in the media. Shared bY ocean Generation experts in Ocean health and inclusive environmental learning.

Scientists understood how greenhouse gasses contributed to rising temperatures in 1856.

What is the greenhouse gas effect and who discovered it? 

The greenhouse gas effect is how heat is trapped close to the Earth’s surface. Trapped by what? Greenhouse gas molecules like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.  

John Tyndall, an Irish physicist, is commonly miscredited with discovering the greenhouse effect.  

In 1856 (three years before Tyndall’s work was published), Eunice Foote, an American scientist, concluded certain gasses warm when exposed to sunlight. She concluded that rising carbon dioxide levels would lead to atmospheric changes, which could impact the climate.  

Human activity was suggested as the main driver of climate change in 1896.

Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, suggested that as humanity burned fossil fuels (non-renewable energy sources like coal, crude oil and petroleum), which added carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, we’d raise the planet’s average temperature. 

Over 100 years ago, the science was there. Why does it feel like we’re only waking up now? 

Climate science wasn’t accepted by the public.

We can point to these news articles and research pieces and say, “It’s been a century! Why was nothing done?” But climate change began on the fringe of society. The science – and these scientists – weren’t taken seriously.  

“Humans? Impacting the planet? No way!” – someone in 1912, probably.  

Turning our backs on fossil fuels, which were building the modern world, seemed outlandish. When the world went to war in 1914, the topic lost momentum and only picked up again in the 1930’s. 

Ocean Generation is sharing the history of climate change. In this image, which is horizontally split in two, two sets of hands hold symbols of the modern world: a light bulb and a globe of Earth. The bottom image is of smoke rising from a factory, symbolising the connection between burning fossil fuels and the modern world.

The origin of global warming.

In 1938, Guy Callendar caused a stir in the science world when he put together weather observations and concluded that global average temperatures had already increased. 

Callendar was the first person to clearly identify a warming trend and connect it to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He was shunned by the science community for his research which became known as “the Callendar Effect.”  

Today, we just call it global warming. 

How does climate change impact our Ocean? 

The Ocean absorbs much of the sun’s heat which helps regulate land temperature and drive global weather patterns. More than 90% of the heat from global warming is stored in our Ocean. That makes the Ocean one of the most important carbon sinks on Earth.  

But this continual heat absorption is changing the characteristics of the Ocean. (Spoiler: not in a good way). Those changes have massive impacts on all life on Earth. 

Scroll: The 7 climate change indicators we’re seeing in the Ocean. 

How does climate change impact the Ocean? Ocean Generation has the answers. In this horizontally split image half is made up by an orange sunset, in the bottom image a scene under the Ocean is captured: there are vibrant corals and clown fish.

Why was climate scepticism so strong for so long?  

Scientific coverage in the media that pointed to the reality we all know now – that human activity is a key driver of climate change – was often published alongside pieces that were sceptical of such facts. 

As recently as 2003, it was covered that global warming amplified death tolls in the 2003 European Heatwave. In the same year, at a speech given on the US Senate floor, a former Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee called climate change, “The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”  

With contradicting statements everywhere, people believed that the jury was out on climate change. We know better. 

The best time to take climate action was in 1912.

The second-best time is right now and every day from now. Because the history of climate change is just that: History.

Each decision we take, today, tomorrow, in three weeks or four years, sets up the future health of our blue planet.  

A hand reaching out above a body of water. The hand's reflection looms below. Shared by Ocean Generation.

Actions you can take to fight climate change.

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The Ocean is turning green because of climate change

Breathtaking image of an Ocean wave breaking. The wave has a green hue. In this article, Ocean Generation explains why our Ocean is turning green because of climate change.

Over 56% of the Ocean is turning green.

More than half of our Ocean has changed colour in the last 20 years, turning more green than blue. (That’s more than Earth’s total land area.) The culprit? Climate change.

Nature published a study in July ’23 that analysed two decades of research which we’ve translated into a 5 minute read about why the Ocean is changing colour and why we should care.

More than half of the Ocean is turning green. It's changed colour in the last 20 years, becoming more green than blue. That's more than Earth's total land area. The culprit is climate change. Ocean Generation has translated the report into an easy read.

Why is the Ocean turning green?

Colour shifts in the Ocean happen for many reasons, like when light bounces off of particles (like plastic) and sediments in the water.

Phytoplankton (micro-algae) is the main reason the Ocean has a naturally green hue because it contains chlorophyll, like all terrestrial plants.

But phytoplankton is more than a just splash of colour. It’s the base of most Oceanic food chains, the main producer of our oxygen, and stores the bulk of our carbon.

So, shifts in Ocean colour aren’t really about the colour. We care about the colour shifts because they’re indicative of changes happening in important surface-level ecosystems.

How is the Ocean’s colour shift linked to climate change?

Good question. Tracking how changes in climate impact our Ocean can be challenging because of the sheer scale of our Ocean. So, often, time-series data is used to measure trends over long periods.

For this study, 20 years of observations from June 2002 to June 2022 by Nasa’s Modis-Aqua satellite were used.

By studying wavelengths of sunlight reflected off our Ocean’s surface, the scientists tracked the fluctuations in greenness (basically: How much phytoplankton is living near the Ocean’s surface, based on estimates of how much chlorophyll there is).

Satellite image of phytoplankton populations from space. Phytoplankton is a micro-algae but so important to all life on our planet. Ocean Generation shares the importance of this Ocean-surface ecosystem.

Of course, phytoplankton populations have natural fluctuations.
To assess the connection to climate change, researchers created a computer model.

The model measured how phytoplankton populations may respond to increases in greenhouse gases (without the natural variations).

The results (between reality and the only-climate-driven-changes model) matched almost exactly, prooving:

Oceanic plant populations (measured by the green they’re adding to the Oceans colour palette) can indicate climate health.

What’s the impact of a greener Ocean?

It all comes back to the phytoplankton.

If the health of phytoplankton is impacted, there are implications relating to:

  • Our Ocean ‘s ability to store carbon;
  • The entire Ocean food chain (and thus, ours);
  • Balance in the biogeochemical cycle (AKA: the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, etc).

We say it all the time. We mean it every time: A healthy Ocean is essential for all life on Earth.

Ocean Generation shares why a healthy Ocean is essential for all life on Earth. Image of a man floating on his back in the Ocean.

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Ocean Generation: Endorsed as a UN Ocean Decade Project

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 – 2030 as ‘the Ocean Decade’ (officially: the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development).

What is the goal of the UN’s Ocean Decade?

The Ocean Decade is a global effort to provide “transformative Ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our Ocean” endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO; scientists, resource providers, governments, business and industry, and other stakeholders joining forces to drive solutions.

Their vision? To provide the science we need for the Ocean we want, with the aim of supporting a well-functioning, productive, resilient and sustainable Ocean.

Ocean Generation’s “Ocean Intelligence” approach has been endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade.

Ocean Generation - a global Ocean charity - is endorsed by UNESCO. Our Ocean Intelligence approach, which translates complex Ocean science into engaging tools and resources.

What is Ocean Intelligence?

We are delighted that our unique Ocean Intelligence approach has been endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC).

Our ‘Ocean Intelligence’ approach uses the power of storytelling to translate complex Ocean science into engaging and practical actions.


Through Ocean Intelligence we play a central role in bringing to life the vision of the Ocean Decade by connecting people everywhere to the Ocean and communicating the science we need for the Ocean we want.


We are particularly happy to continue our long relationship with the IOC who were early supporters and patrons of our original documentary film ‘A Plastic Ocean’.

Richard Hill, CEO at Ocean Generation.

We unpack the often jargon-heavy, complicated science behind the human actions that threaten our Ocean.

Ocean Generation uses the power of storytelling to translate environmental science into understandable, practical actions that people, globally, can take to restore a healthy relationship with the Ocean and live more sustainable lifestyles.

Our Ocean Intelligence approach is grounded in four science-based pillars:

  1. Our Ocean: Engaging people in the wonder of our Ocean.
  2. Ocean not Oceans: Sharing the Science behind one interconnected Ocean that humans rely on.
  3. Our Impact: Exploring the 5 human actions that threaten our Ocean.
  4. Our Future: Discovering how we can all take Ocean Action.

These 4 pillars underpin all our Youth Engagement programmes for 3 – 25-year-olds.

Two young African men looking into a body of water. Their faces cannot be seen. The accompanying quote reads: Ocean Generation sees the world's youth as the key drivers for a more positive shift towards our Ocean.

How we bring the Ocean to young people

From a toe in the water to a full immersive experience

In partnership with Earth Cubs, we’ve launched a play-based game for 3 – 7-year-olds that aims to engage children on the importance of our Ocean, the harm of plastic pollution, and how they can contribute to creating a healthier planet.

Ocean Academy exists to bring the Ocean to the classroom. It’s an open-source digital education hub designed for 5 – 16-year-olds, providing them with access to the best Ocean education – in easy to understand and engage with formats.

The Wavemaker Programme empowers young adults – 16 – 25 – to make a positive change by providing them with tools and resources. Through our workshops, masterclasses, and personal development programmes, Wavemakers accelerates social action and incubates innovation.

We see a world where the Ocean is freed from human threats within a generation.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us online to be part of Ocean solutions.

As the first generation to deeply understand Ocean issues, we are the last generation who can stop them.

We are all the Ocean Generation.

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We are the Ocean Generation

Image split in two; horizontally. In the top half there is a city skyline representing people. In the bottom image is a coral reef; representing the Ocean. Ocean Generation's brand trust circle is in the center of the image. Ocean Generation is a registered Ocean charity teaching the world about the Ocean and how to live sustainably.

The history of Ocean Generation

Since 2009, we have been experts in Ocean health.

Our charity began as Plastic Oceans UK, where we focused on Ocean plastic pollution. Our award-winning documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’, was named by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time” and ignited mass public awareness about the impact of plastic on our Ocean.

Ocean Generation are creators of the award-winning documentary: A Plastic Ocean.

Through various education programmes, we set out to increase Ocean literacy and stop plastic reaching the Ocean within a generation.

Ten years on, it was time for a change. We needed renewed energy to tackle a wider range of very real and immediate human actions threatening the Ocean.

Serendipity came into play when we met the Ocean Generation Foundation team. This relatively new youth collective was breaking stereotypes by using popular culture like gaming, music and fashion to foster an inclusive approach to sustainability.

Together, we embarked on a bold and refreshing chapter; combining disruptive energy with years of experience of storytelling through science and film.

As Plastic Oceans UK became Ocean Generation, we identified a higher vision of the world.

We see a world where the Ocean is freed from human threats within a generation and where young people can be the catalyst for change.

Why we exist

We’re at a stage where there is mass awareness about the problems that engulf the Ocean.

For some of us, Ocean threats are so deeply embedded in the way we all live and work that addressing them can seem overwhelming. And for others, the connection of how the solutions can be relevant to their daily lives cannot be made.

We are changing the narrative around plastic, climate change and other human-made Ocean threats.

We break down the problem. No more fear-mongering, science jargon or big data. No more over-simplifications like Plastic Free or Zero Waste.

We know that plastic has a role to play. But we believe we can shift the perceptions and behaviours that create Ocean threats and enable all of us to live more sustainably.

What we do

Simply put: We translate complex Ocean science into engaging content; use film and popular culture stories to nurture an inclusive approach to sustainability; and run three UNESCO-endorsed youth engagement programmes for 3 – 25-year-olds. 

We develop understandable and practical tools and solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems – like climate change and plastic pollution.

Our ‘Ocean Intelligence’ – endorsed by UNESCO – bridges the gap between complex Ocean science and people-led Ocean action by harnessing the power storytelling (backed by science).

We share the stories that to bring a human face to the environmental issues the world is facing.

YouTube player

Our blue planet doesn’t need you to be a perfect environmentalist to make a difference. We need to start where we are; do what we can; take action now.

Ahead of launching our second documentary, we are educating and empowering a generation of Ocean advocates – Wavemakers – to recognise where they can have impact in tackling Ocean threats.

Our global inclusive movement connects people who are using their voices, talents, and skills to develop locally relevant shifts in behaviour that can restore the health of the Ocean and our health too.

Young people are the change engine at the heart of the Ocean Generation movement.

We empower and encourage young people – between the ages of 3 and 25 – to make more conscious, sustainable choices. Their voices are amplified in a refreshing call for change at the heart of everyday decision making.

With collaboration at the core of our ethos, we develop partnerships with people everywhere, to achieve lasting change together.

We exist to restore a sustainable relationship between humanity and the Ocean. As the first generation to deeply understand Ocean issues, we are also the last generation who can stop them.

One Ocean.
One Future.
We are all the Ocean Generation.

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