Is it ‘green’ or greenwashing?

Fashionable women and men sitting on wooden chairs in a lush, healthy field. The people are dressed in sustainable neutrals. In this article, Ocean Generation and Lydia Dupree breakdown what greenwashing is and how to spot it.

How to tell the difference between sustainable fashion and false claims like greenwashing 

The fashion industry is swept up in buzzwords — especially when marketing sustainable fashion. “Eco-friendly”, “natural”, “green”—the list goes on. But what do they mean? Do they have substance, at all? 

Most of them are fluff, jargon to make a brand sound environmentally conscious without any true scientific backing as to their impact on our blue planet. Sustainability is easy to market, but hard to prove.  

Saying that, we can welcome our next buzzy term into the mix —greenwashing.

What is greenwashing?

No, greenwashing is not an expensive non-toxic clothing detergent or the latest dry cleaning method. 

Greenwashing is “the act or practice of making a product, policy, activity, etc. appear to be more environmentally friendly or less environmentally damaging than it really is”.  

Definition of greenwashing by Lydia Dupree and Ocean Generation. Greenwashing =
making a product, 
policy, activity, etc. 
appear to be more environmentally friendly
than it really is.

What is greenwashing in fashion?

Greenwashing in fashion can range from a fast fashion brand debuting a “sustainable” collection that lacks evidence supporting how it is environmentally conscious, to sprinkling eco-friendly terms into marketing without defining what they mean.  

In short, greenwashing is the use of false claims to hop on to the sustainability trend without evidence (if only Legally Blonde had come out now, Elle would be all over this one!). 

Greenwashing instructions including exaggerating positive contributions to ethical and sustainable fashion and distracting from the ongoing mass of fast fashion garment production. Shared by Ocean Generation and Lydia Dupree. Via Project Stopshop

How can you tell the difference between sustainable fashion and false claims? 

5 ways to identify greenwashing in fashion. 

If you see these red flags, run!

  1. The use of sustainability jargon, such as “green”, “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, and “natural” in marketing without a definition explaining what the brand means when using the term.

  2. A fast fashion company that comes out with new items often (think: daily, weekly, monthly, even large numbers released seasonally) markets their new line as “sustainable”.

    Releasing large volumes of clothing indicates that the company as a whole is not following an earth-conscious business model and thereby cannot justify one of their lines truly being sustainable. 

  3. Claiming fabrics to be “organic” or “non-toxic” without certifications to support (see below for more information on certifications to look for).

  4. The lack of scientific reports exploring their sustainability impact . If a brand has the data to prove how they are sustainable, they will show it.

  5. Using the term “vegan” to make clothing sound like a healthier, cruelty-free alternative , when the fabric is derived from petrochemicals (meaning, they are fossil-fuel derived plastics).  

    However, some “vegan” fabrics are plant-based materials, which would be a sustainable alternative.  

    Watch: Lydia’s short video about how to avoid plastics in clothing. 
Women wearing three pairs of sunglasses on her head: One pink, blue and yellow. A tranisiton to slow fashion is needed to safegaurd our planet. This article explores greenwashing red flags.

5 signs of sustainable fashion

Look for these green flags!

  1. Look for transparency in fashion.

    The brand has sustainability reports backed up by data readily available.

    Sustainability reports can include their efforts towards lowering carbon footprint, reducing water usage and overall waste, treating and paying garment workers fairly, and outlining future sustainability goals.

  2. How traceable is your clothing?

    Clothing is fully traceable back to the source, such as the farm that grew the cotton or the alpaca whose wool you are wearing.

  3. Is your sustainable clothing certified by credible sources?

    Fabrics and processes can be certified by credible sources, such as: 

    ➡️ What does a GOTS certification mean?
    Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) ensures no pesticides or insecticides are used in farming and all chemistry used by the brand in the production of clothing is in alignment with being truly organic.

    GOTS-certified facilities also adhere to social criteria based on leading social sustainability standards.  

    ➡️ What is OEKO TEX in the fashion world?
    OEKO-TEX® is all about chemical safety. They have a variety of certifications, but the most popular one is the STANDARD 100 which ensures that the final product was tested to confirm that it is free from over 3,000 different toxic chemicals. 

    ➡️ What does bluesign credibility mean?
    bluesign® approved facilities look at the overall chemistry used by a brand from fiber to finished product to ensure safe chemistry practices are used. 

    ➡️ What is Fairtrade?
    Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA follow criteria that support ethical working environments for farmers and garment workers, eco-friendly practices and prioritise fair pay. 

     
  4. Are the clothes you’re wearing part of circular fashion?

    “Circular” fashion stops the linear “take-make-waste” model of fast fashion and instead closes the loop on production, including responsible manufacturing, use, and recycling for every garment.

    Look for brands that have take-back programs to recycle and reuse garments when they are at the end of life.

  5. Is the clothing you’re wearing from small batch production?

    A brand launches only a few items at a time in a limited supply to combat waste from the fashion industry, such as increasing landfills. 
A sustainably made scarf rustles in the wind. It's being held up, by a set of hands. In the background is a blue sky. Shared by Ocean Generation: Experts in Ocean Health.

Now in the know.

Although greenwashing is an indicator that the industry is slowly becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment.

But the only way to truly make a positive difference is to be honest and straightforward in their environmental efforts.  

Every decision we make – from what we wear to what we eat and how we move – has an impact on the future health of our Ocean and planet.  

With these tips to spot greenwashing, you’re now equipped to decipher the sustainability cons from the true conservationists. Go forth with your newfound skill and tell a friend.  

Greenwashing is an indicator that the industry is becoming more conscious of their environmental impact. But to truly make a positive difference they must be honest about their environmental efforts. In this article by Lydia Dupree, Ocean Generation is unpacking what greenwashing is and what red flags to look out for.


Connect with Lydia via her website or Instagram page.

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How to Be a More Conscious Consumer 

Asian woman surrounded by neutral coloured clothing, emphasising our overconsumption mentality. Ocean Generation is sharing 5 strategies to become a more conscious consumer in this article.

5 Tips to become a more conscious consumer.

Overconsumption is one of the hallmarks of modern societies. We are quite literally sold the idea that consumption will boost our happiness. Clever marketing campaigns and the media champion this ‘more is better’ lifestyle.  

It can be easy to be caught up in this world of overconsumption. It’s easy to forget the impacts that our consumption habits have on both people and the planet.

We’re sharing a brief overview of these impacts below. Take a deeper dive into the impact of both appliances and textiles as part of our “What we Purchase” series. 

Man in a simple t-shirt and jeans handing off a bag to an extended hand while reaching for a new bag that looks exactly the same. The image symbolises how we over-consume fast fashion. To protect the planet, we need to address our more is best mindset. Ocean Generation is sharing tips to be a more conscious consumer.

The products that we consume impact the environment throughout their lifespans. From the sheer volume of water used in textile production to the generation of vast amounts of e-waste.

Waste from discarded products not only contaminates the environment, but also puts human health at risk. 

Globally, there is uneven distribution of these environmental and societal impacts of product consumption. Most impacts are felt in developing countries which receive exports of discarded products. This is despite developed countries being the primary product consumers.  

We need to start taking responsibility for our overconsumption.   

What we purchase directly impacts the use of natural resources, production practices, and the quantity of waste accumulated.

So, making more sustainable decisions about what we purchase has the power to reduce not only greenhouse gas emissions, but also wider environmental impacts.    

How to be a more environmentally conscious consumer:    

We’re all taught in school to reuse, reduce and recycle but there’s much more we can do to tackle overconsumption.

Our Plastic Intelligence Framework – which breaks down a hierarchy of actions; The 5 R’s: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle – can be used to guide consumer decision making around plastics

Ocean Generation has developed a Plastic Intelligence Framework that outlines the most impactful ways individuals can make a positive impact and curb their waste generation. The 5 most impactful ways we can address plastic pollution in order of positive impact are: Rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.

The order of these actions is deliberate, with the most impactful change being to rethink, followed by refuse, reduce, reuse, and finally recycle.  

Utilising the 5R framework, we can also address broader sustainable consumption. How? What do these steps actually involve? Let’s start from the top.  

How to be a more environmentally conscious consumer:    

1. Rethink your relationship with products 

To do this, we need to remember that our ‘needs’ may differ from our ‘wants’. Have a think about what items you consider to be essential for your well-being and happiness.  

Advertising and media influence the perception what we ‘need’. It is our responsibility to acknowledge this and form our own opinions about what items are necessary in our lives.  

If you decide that you do really need an item, then that’s okay! The focus of rethinking is to slow down consumption. This is achieved by taking a moment to consider our relationship with items. 

2. Refuse to purchase unnecessary items.  

Female hand trying to force and over-full closet closed. The image symbolises our overconsumption habits when it comes to fashion and shopping.

Is an item of clothing part of a fast fashion trend, destined to be worn once then live at the back of your wardrobe until it is discarded?  

Do you really need multiple devices, or will one do the job? 

Refusing to purchase unnecessary items minimises waste produced.  

3. Reduce your overall consumption. 

If you find yourself needing to buy something, then where possible, opt for quality over quantity.  

If a product is low-quality, it is likely to be less durable and have a shorter useful lifespan. Question if you need the low-quality item. Can you wait until you have the resources to buy a better-quality product; built to last longer?

The result? Less waste. 

4. Reuse products to extend their lifespan.  

Reuse can take many forms.  

In the world of textiles, renting, remaking, repairing, and reselling are all part of the transition to ‘slow’ fashion. Online resale and rental platforms are becoming increasingly popular, along with second-hand shops and upcycled items.  

Explore repairing your damaged items before discarding them. It is never too late to learn how to sew a button. For more complex repairs, such as of household appliances, try checking out a local repair workshop.  

Before buying new appliances, consider refurbished items (products that are repaired/restored to working condition) or remanufactured items (used products that get dismantled, their worn parts replaced, and reassembled to like-new condition).  

Ultimately, reusing items decreases demand for resource extraction and minimises waste. 

We can't recycle our way out of our waste problems. Reducing waste - at its source - is key. To achieve that, we need to rethink our consumer behaviour.

5. Recycle at designated points.  

Remember that while the rethinking, refusing, reducing, and reusing are more impactful, recycling is still a valuable process. This is because again it reduces the amount of waste generated.  

If an item is truly at the end of its lifespan, recycle it at a designated recycling point.  

We don’t have to be perfectly zero-waste or plastic-free consumers to make a positive difference   

However, what we all must do is start making changes. Here are 20 ways to address your daily plastic waste on a daily basis to get you started.

   

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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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7 Interesting travel facts, linked to the environment 

Plane ascending into the sky. Ocean Generation is sharing 7 interesting travel facts linked to the environment in this article.

How much do we need to reduce travel emissions to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement?”

Good question! Perhaps you’ve also wondered how much worse the private jets celebs catch are, compared to commercial planes, or how much more we drive than walk?

Here are 7 interesting travel facts linked to the environmental:

Teal travel van parked against the backdrop of a coastal road. There's a blue sky, a stretch of Ocean, and lush wild grass with a few flowers. Shared by Ocean Generation in an article about interesting travel facts with an environmental lens.

1. Transport-related CO2 emissions would need to be curbed to 2Gt or 3Gt by 2050, or 70-80% lower than 2015 levels to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit.  

2. More passengers per vehicle = lower individual emissions.  

The transport sector causes substantial negative impacts on the environment and human health. Image of a close up of a car exhaust with CO2 being released.

3. A double decker bus, a clever form of public transport, can replace up to 50 other motorised vehicles.

4. Making cities walkable, i.e., making it easy to travel around a neighbourhood on your own two feet, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 4 tonnes a year when compared to automobile-dependent areas.

The avoided emissions are equivalent to 2-person round trip flying economy between Paris and New York.  

5. We now drive seven times as much as we walk.  

6. In 2016 most passengers in the UK (72%) were flying for leisure.  

7. Private jets are 5-14 times more polluting than commercial planes (per passenger) and about 50 times more polluting than trains.

The amount of space taken up on a road by 50 pedestrians vs. 50 cyclists vs. 50 people on a bus vs. 50 people in 33 cars. This image is shared by ocean Generation in their article about interesting travel facts through an environmental lens.
The amount of space taken up on a road by 50 pedestrians vs. 50 cyclists vs. 50 people on a bus vs. 50 people in 33 cars. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Our planet doesn’t need a handful of perfect environmentalists. It needs millions of imperfect people doing what they can to make a difference, and always trying to do better.  

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10 Ocean actions from the Ocean Generation team

Hand cupping water presumably from the Ocean.

Every decision we make has an environmental impact

This means everyone can do something (or more than one something) to make our planet a bluer, healthier place to call home.

Our Ocean plays a critical role in regulating the climate and absorbing carbon emissions – most notably, through blue carbon ecosystems. So, taking Ocean action is in the best interest of all life on Earth.

Ocean action is climate action.

We asked the team at Ocean Generation – from those in our science team; to our founder, Jo Ruxton MBE; to those who manage our youth engagement programmes – to share the ways they take Ocean and climate action each day.

10 daily actions our team of Ocean lovers takes to protect the Ocean:

1) Omit unnecessary car travel

10 ways you can take action to fight climate change. Tip: Omit unnecessary car travel.

2) Don’t pour cooking oil down the drain

Ocean health tip from Ocean generation: Don't pour cooking oil down the drain.

3) The best way to take Ocean action? Educate your inner circle about how important our Ocean is.

10 ways you can protect the Ocean shared by the Ocean Generation team. Tip: Educate the people around you about the importance of the Ocean.

Wondering where to start?
Incredible Ocean facts for you:

4) Shop second-hand

Sustainable living tip: Shop second hand and rethink your relationship with fast fashion.

5) Be a mindful toilet flusher

Ocean action tip: Don't flush anything down the drain besides toilet paper and bodily fluids. What goes down the drain ends up in the Ocean.

6) Share what you love about the Ocean with others

You can connect with the Ocean by visiting it in person or using digital means to explore the depths under the sea.

Fun fact: 2.5 billion people live within 100km of the coast. But, of course, not everyone can take a dip in the Ocean every day.

What you can do from afar is go on a virtual Oceanic expedition. Dive into Ocean ecosystems across the world on Google.

7) Say no to wet-wipes

Ocean protection tip: Say no to wet wipes. They don't degrade!

8) Integrate environmentalism into your career

10 ways you can fight climate change shared by the Ocean Generation team. Tip: Integrate environmentalism into your career and start talking about climate at work.

Easy ways to incorporate environmentalism into your work-life:

  • Bring the Ocean’s health and welfare of the planet into conversation.
  • Can you promote a paperless office?
  • How about suggesting old devices get recycled instead of tossed?
  • Try suggesting the use glasses instead of styrofoam cups at your next meeting or conference.
  • Send e-cards during the festive season and for birthdays – you can even donate the price of a paper card to a cause you care about.

9) Make these easy plastic swaps – and then swear off unnecessary plastic items forever.

Protect the Ocean by committing to never using a plastic straw, bottle or cup again. There are so many eco-alternatives out there.

At Ocean Generation, we promote an inclusive approach to sustainability. We recognise that zero-waste, plastic-free, vegan, and zero-carbon lifestyles don’t work for everyone – and that’s okay. The world needs all of us to do what we can, within our means.

But in saying that, it’s also important to recognise that too many of us still use single-use plastics too easily. When did you last purchase a plastic bottle, a take-out coffee mug or use a single-use plastic straw?

Most single-use plastic items are unnecessary. There are (excuse the pun) an Ocean of eco-alternatives available.

It’s time to break up with unnecessary plastic. Identify what unnecessary single-use plastic you use. ✅ Make the switch to eco-alternatives. ✅ Commit to never going back. ✅

10) Do your best to take environmental action daily, and accept that ‘your bestlooks different for everyone.

10 ways you can fight climate change and protect the Ocean shared by the Ocean Generation team. Tip: Do your best to take environmental action and recognise that your best and someone elses best look different. We don't have to take the same action to make a positive difference.

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15 Climate actions you can take to restore the Ocean’s health 

15 simple actions you can take to fight climate change and protect the Ocean, shared by Ocean Generation. Dark blue, foamy wave washing onto a beach.

What can I do about climate change?”

We’re regularly asked for practical climate actions. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do to look after our blue planet.  

Every decision we make – from what we eat to how we move to the clothes we wear – has an environmental impact. But when faced with fear-mongering headlines and science-backed alarm bells that we’re reaching a climate tipping point, individual actions don’t feel like enough.  

Do individual climate actions actually make a difference?  

Yes. Think about it: Swapping out your plastic straw for a metal one may not feel like much, but if everyone in Europe did the same, 701 tonnes of plastic could be prevented from entering the environment every year.  

Collectively, individual actions are powerful propellers of positive change.  

The image is cut horizontally down the middle. The top image is four men and woman dressed for work in suits and coats, holding briefcases. The bottom image is of a bright yellow fish in an organge coral in the sea. Shared by Ocean Generation.

Why should the Ocean have a seat at climate conversations?  

The Ocean is a powerful climate change mitigator.

Here’s 3 ways our Ocean mitigates the impacts of climate change: 

  • The Ocean absorbs 90% of excess heat from our climate system, making it an impressive heat sink. In fact, the Ocean is the largest heat sink on Earth. 
  • 30% of human-made carbon emissions are absorbed by our Ocean.  
  • The Ocean plays a major role in climate adaption. (Said differently: the Ocean supports our planet’s adjustment to the effects of climate change, for example, through blue carbon ecosystems).  

But as much as our Ocean tackles climate change, it is also directly affected by it. (Read: Ways climate change impacts Ocean health.)

When we take climate action, we are simultaneously taking Ocean action and vice versa.  

From reducing your use of single-use plastics to addressing your carbon footprint, there are many effective ways to make a positive difference.

Here are 15 climate actions you can take to restore the Ocean’s health: 

1) Skip single-use coffee cups

Many of us start our day with a cup of coffee on the go. It’s a comforting routine that sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

If all of Europe made the switch from single-use plastic cups to eco-friendly alternatives, we’d prevent 1,500 tonnes of plastic waste a year.

Hand holding a reusable coffee cup, shared by Ocean Generation. The accompanying text says 'if all of Europe made the switch to eco-friendly cups, we'd prevent 1,500 tonnes of plastic waste a year.'

2) Understand the main 5 human-made threats the Ocean faces 

We can’t restore the health of the Ocean if we don’t understand what threatens it.

The UN released a 2,000-page document breaking down the various threats our Ocean faces. Understandably, most people don’t have the time (or desire) to read it. So, we transformed it into 5 easy-to-follow articles about Ocean threats. 

3) “What is my climate footprint?” 

Your carbon footprint is the measure of greenhouse gases produced by your daily activities.  

This includes things like driving a car, using electricity, the emissions linked to what you wear, and even eating food.  

When we understand our carbon footprint, we can shift our behaviours for the better. Here’s an online carbon footprint calculator (we can’t endorse any resource as ‘the most accurate measure of your CO2 footprint’ but this will give you a rough idea of your environmental impact).  

It’s important to remember that carbon emission world averages distort the unequal emissions in developed and developing countries. So, it’s helpful to compare your carbon footprint to your national average to assess where you stand. 

4) The food on your plate makes an environmental impact  

One third of carbon emissions comes from food production.  

What you eat tends to matter more than whether it’s produced locally or not, when it comes to decreasing your carbon footprint.  Read: Is locally sourced food better for the environment? 

General tips: Reduce your consumption of high-emission foods like meat and dairy in favour of seasonal fruits and vegetables and snacks that have negative emissions. 

5) Put your money where your heart is: Divest from fossil fuels 

Are your monetary investments benefiting the planet? Divesting from fossil fuels means taking your money out of the hands of the fossil fuel industry, which contributes significantly to carbon emissions and climate change.  

You can start by checking your bank and investment accounts and moving your money to institutions that don’t invest in fossil fuels. Even small divestments make a difference. 

Microplastics on a black background. Ocean Generation is sharing climate actions we can all take.

6) Avoid products with microbeads 

Microbeads are small plastic beads often found in beauty and personal care products. These tiny pieces of plastic easily slip down our drains, through water treatment plants and into the Ocean. 

Most of us purchase products – facial scrubs, toothpaste, nail polish, and abrasive household cleaning products – without realising they contain microbeads.  

Quick solution to the microbead problem: Check ingredient lists and front labels. Microbeads and polyethylene are often listed on packaging, making them easy to avoid. 

7) Think before you toss your clothes into the laundry 

Every time we do an average laundry load of 6kg, 700,000 fibres can be released into our waterways. Before you put something in the washing basket, consider if it can first be worn again.  

Take this a step further by investing in a bag built to capture micro-fibres and choosing sustainable clothing materials when it’s time to purchasing something.  

8) Conserve water  

Only 0.5% of water on Earth is useable and available as freshwater. So, we’re not joking when we say water is liquid gold.  

It’s a key prerequisite for human development and, already, a quarter of all cities are water stressed. Little actions add up: Cringe when you see a character in a movie running water for ages; make sure you turn your tap off while brushing your teeth; install a waster-wise shower-head; fix those leaks.  

You may feel that your climate action a drop in the Ocean – but the Ocean would be less without that drop.  

Every drop counts.

9) Understand the impact of fast fashion on the environment 

Fast fashion is responsible for 8 – 10% of global carbon emissions (which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping – combined).  

Outfit repeating, sustainable fabrics, shopping second-hand and only purchasing items you know you’ll re-wear over and over again are in fashion this season.  
Scroll: How to take the fast out of fast fashion

Car exhaust pipe with smoke coming out. Shared by Ocean Generation in a article about actions to reduce carbon emissions.

10) What’s the impact of how you travel

No one’s surprised to learn: Flying is one of the most carbon-intensive modes of transportation. But did you know that flying at night is actually worse for the planet than flying during the day? Now you do.

Walking and cycling are both climate-friendly and positively impact our health.  

Suggestions when it comes to catching flights:  

  • Where alternatives exist, don’t fly.  
  • When you need to fly, choose direct flights to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise emissions associated with take-offs.  

11) Plant a mangrove tree – with the click of a button – to take Ocean action 

Mangrove trees are incredible climate solutions.

We’ve written about their impressive carbon sequestering power extensively and have a Mangrove Mandate: A promise to plant a mangrove tree in Madagascar for every new follower on @OceanGeneration’s instagram.  

By planting a mangrove tree, you’re making a direct impact on the environment. Plant (follow).

12) Rethink your relationship with plastic 

You knew it was coming. It wouldn’t be a climate change actions list without mention of plastic.  

Plastic is everywhere – from the clothing you’re wearing to the spot you’re sitting right now and even in the food we eat. There’s no getting rid of a material designed to last forever, but reducing our consumption of single-use plastics is essential for a healthy Ocean and planet.  

Start by rethinking your relationship with plastic. Instead of leaning on recycling, start reusing, reducing, totally refusing plastic options where you can.  

Crashing Ocean wave, shared by Ocean Generation - experts in Ocean health since 2009.

13) Start saying ‘Ocean’ not oceans 

At school, we’re all taught about the Ocean having 5 regions, but our Ocean isn’t separated by borders. It’s one, connected system.  

What happens in one part of the Ocean impacts Ocean health as a whole. 

If we all understood this, we’d be more mindful of what we dump in the Ocean, what we take out of it, and how we use it daily. As you go about your life, start saying Ocean – big O, no s. Not only does it highlight the interconnectedness of the Ocean, but also how our daily actions impact it. 

14) Be a voice for our Ocean 

The Ocean is quite literally keeping us alive. It’s our planet’s life support system, but most people don’t realise that.  

By keeping yourself informed about the importance of the Ocean, the human-made threats it faces, and the various actions we can take to protect it – and then sharing that Ocean intelligence, you can propel a wave of positive change for our planet.

Sign up to our newsletter for monthly Ocean education. Submit a Wavemaker Story to let your voice for the Ocean be amplified on our channels. Share educational posts you come across. Be an Ocean advocate – not just on World Ocean Day but every day. 

15) Accept that you can’t do everything. Start where you are. 

It’s important to acknowledge that no one can do it all when it comes to tackling climate change and restoring the Ocean’s health.  

Striving to be a perfect environmentalist often leads to eco-anxiety and feelings of defeat about the amount of work to be done. The reality is: Imperfection is still helpful, and it’s a lot more inclusive than unrealistic demands for perfection. 

Our blue planet doesn’t need a handful of perfect environmentalists. Earth needs millions of imperfect people doing what they can to make a difference, and always trying to do better.  

Embrace imperfect environmentalism with us by starting where you are. Commit to one – or several – of these items right now. Collectively, we can make waves. 

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What we Eat: Is locally sourced food better for the planet? 

Is locally sourced food better for the planet? Ocean Generation weighs in. The top half of this image shows lush lettuce with water droplets and the bottom shows a sea turtle swimming in the Ocean among some seagrass.

Over 10,000 years ago, we planted our first seeds and domesticated animals – marking a major milestone for homo sapiens (humans).

Fast forward to the present and it’s easy to see that we’ve come a long way from founding agricultural practices to the complex globalised food system we’ve built today.  

Hands of a farmer picking fruit off of a plant, on a farm. Ocean Generation is sharing how what we eat impacts the health of our planet and Ocean.

Many of us are now able to purchase foods, in and out of season, throughout the year. Food systems tend to be high-yielding and complex: the low cost of the products could be argued to be offset by the hefty environmental cost.  

Is eating locally sourced food better for the planet? 

We are exploring the public discourse between local and non-local foods, through the lens of carbon emissions

But first, we need to understand the components of the food system.  

What’s the environmental cost of the food on my plate? 

The food on our plates often makes its way to us through a complex food system.  

What is a food system 

A food system refers to the entire process (aka lifecycle) of producing, processing, distributing and consuming food.

A strawberry on a fork along with the words: The food system accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Shared by Ocean Generation.

This system accounts for a third, or 18 GTCO2eq, of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions where: 

Agricultural production (farms and animal feed) is responsible for a whopping 39% of the emissions. 

Changes in land use (deforestation and fluctuations in carbon in soil) is responsible for 32% of the emissions and, 

Other supply chain activities (like processing, transport, retail, packaging, and consumption) are responsible for 29% of the emissions.  

Aside from emissions, food systems are also accountable for high water usage and being the primary driver of biodiversity loss.

Evidently, the systems we’ve built need transformative changes that minimise this environmental toll. It also means addressing the undeniable role of the meat and dairy industry in the rise of emissions. 

From a consumer perspective, many argue that buying local produce is the best way to minimise our emissions.

Although this is a popular policy recommendation, academia suggests a slightly different picture. 

Above and below: Half of the image shows a farm with yellow wheat and the bottom half of the image shows a scene of corals and fish; life in the Ocean. A sting ray is swimming with a remora on its back and some yellow fish.

What does “locally sourced” food mean? 

There is no widely accepted definition of ‘local’ food, but it broadly revolves around minimal distances between where the food is produced and where it is consumed.  

‘Local’ food can be interpreted in a few ways:

– Within a community, city, village, or county, 
– Within a State (like in US, India), or, 
– Within a small country (like Jamaica, Estonia, Lebanon) 

In the US, according to the 2008 Farm Act, to be classified as ‘local’, foods would have to come from 400 miles or less.

If we apply this to a person shopping in Slovenia, a small European country, they could, in theory, buy produce from all their neighbouring countries and consider that as ‘local’.

So, the different interpretations to ‘local’ food allows room for varying circumstances.  

Does the type of transport used for foods matter? 

Yes! It is worth noting the emission disparities between different modes of transport.

The most GHG-efficient option for transporting food is via cargo ships. This is followed by rail, cars, vans, and trucks.

Unintuitively, storing foods locally year-round tend to be more GHG intensive than having the same products shipped from another country.   

The transport method used to carry your food from farm to fork makes a huge environmental difference.

In general, air freighted foods are the least GHG-efficient. As a consumer, it can be difficult to assess what is air-freighted and what is not.

A useful guide is to assess whether the product has a limited shelf life (for example, mangoes and berries) and if it is from a country quite far away.  

Now, let’s dive into a common question encountered in the local vs non-local food debate.  

Don’t non-locally sourced foods mean higher travel emissions? 

Not necessarily.

Here are eight foods and their supply chain emissions visualised in two ways: 

Greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain for 8 different types of food. [Credit: Our World in Data] 
Figure 1 GHG Emissions across the supply chain [Credit: Our World in Data] 
Greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain for 8 types of food. [Credit: Our World in Data] 
Figure 2 Relative GHG Emissions across the supply chain [Credit: Our World in Data] 

In figure 1, we are able to see the overall emissions of certain foods, noting that some foods have high emissions (like meat) while some have low or negative emissions (like nuts). Therefore, we can make the biggest impact by swapping out high-emission foods where possible.  

Figure 2 allows for a deeper understanding of emissions from each step of the supply chain. Although there are exceptions, travel emissions for most foods are minimal compared to the emissions associated with land use, farming, and animal feed. 

If you’d like to learn more about this in the context of other foods, click here to use the graphing tool. 

What are the best practices to adopt when sourcing foods? 

From an environmental perspective, making decisions on how to source foods can be unclear.

Some of the best practices guided by growing evidence suggests the following:  

– In terms of emissions reduction, what you eat matters more than whether it is local or not.  

– In general, buy locally grown seasonal foods like vegetables and fruits.  

– Buy local especially if you know where you’re buying from, who you’re buying from and how they grow the food. The transparency of supply chains will enable you to consider wider environmental, economic, and social impacts to make well-informed decisions. 

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Mangroves: Underrated Climate Change Heroes 

Mangrove tree growing out of water. Mangroves are climate change heroes thanks to their ability to sequester 3 - 5 times more carbon than normal forests.

Everything you need to know about mangrove trees:

Mangroves are the only forests situated at the confluence of land and sea in the world’s subtropics and tropics. They have been variously described as “coastal woodland”, “mangal”, “tidal forest” and “mangrove forest.”  

There are roughly 70 species of mangrove trees occupying a total estimated area of 147,000 km2 worldwide. This is equivalent to the size of Bangladesh! Roughly 43% of the world’s mangrove forests are situated in just four countries: Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, and Nigeria.  

These forests are home to an abundance of life, protecting people from floods whilst storing carbon at an impressive capacity. 

Mangrove trees in Indonesia. The mangroves - a coastal ecosystem - are vital climate change heroes. Here, they are near a body of water. Uniquely, mangroves can be found in coastal and fresh water environments.

Biodiversity in mangrove forests 

In the right conditions, mangroves form extensive and productive forests.

These forests support animal populations both within the forest and in offshore areas. Densities of crabs are especially likely to be highest on unvegetated mudbanks adjacent to mangroves, feeding on propagules (buds of plants). 

Juvenile shrimps are important organisms near mangroves too, and a sought-after food for many communities. These shrimps obtain carbon (food) from plankton and algae living amongst the mangroves. 

There are also a few endemic mammal species in mangroves. For example, crab-eating rats in Australia, the leaf monkey in Malaysia, and the proboscis monkey in Borneo. 

Here is a diagram further highlighting the importance of mangroves to so many species for different reasons – 

What species live in mangrove forests? Animals use mangroves as a nursery, foraging and nesting habitat. Some species like tree crabs, spotted mangrove crabs and crocodiles spend their whole lives in mangrove forests.

Figure 1 Conceptual diagram illustrating the critical habitat that mangroves provide for a variety of animals [Credit: Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science] 

Why should we care about mangrove trees? 

– Mangrove forests are widely recognised as providing a wide variety of goods and services to people, including protection from floods, provision of a variety of plant and animal products, sediment trapping, and nutrient uptake and transformation.  

– Annually, mangroves are responsible for over $60 billion in avoided losses from coastal flooding, protecting more than 15 million people.  

– An impressive diversity of plant products is harvested from mangrove trees, including tannins, honey, medicinal products, and thatch. 

Aerial image of mangrove forests.

Mangroves are a blue carbon solution  

– Mangroves have gained a lot of attention in recent years over their ability to sequester carbon, storing between 3-5 times more carbon per hectare than terrestrial forests. 

– They have carbon-rich soil that’s been built-up for over hundreds or thousands of years. 

– 87% of carbon stocks in mangroves are just within the top meter of soil. According to one report, if this were released into the atmosphere, it would be equal to 7.5 years of emissions from the EU or burning 51 billion barrels of oil. 

What are the drivers of degradation and loss of mangroves?  

Up to 60% of mangrove tree losses are due to direct or indirect human impacts. These drivers are –

– Logging (for timber, charcoal) 
– Agriculture (oil palm cultivation)
– Aquaculture (ponds for shrimp and fish farming) 
– Pollution (from oil and gas extraction, and nutrient run-off) 
– Coastal infrastructure development  
– Climate change (sea level rise, hurricanes, drought) 

Mangroves Degradation in Timor-Leste shared by Ocean Generation.

Mangrove Restoration and Conservation Efforts 

Our knowledge of mangrove area dynamics at local to global scales has increased significantly since 2000 due to advances in remote sensing and data access.

Around 42% of remaining mangroves are now located in protected areas. But protected areas may not always provide strong protection. Many mangroves fall prey to erosion and storms, naturally occurring phenomena, while some don’t stand the test of time due to ineffective management.  

The front line of mangrove protection, management and sustainable use involves people—communities, indigenous groups, traditional users, and local governments.  

The Global Mangrove Alliance, is an important and ambitious initiative, seeking to halt loss caused by direct human impact, restore at least half of recent mangrove losses, and increase protection from over 40% to 80% by 2030. 

How coastal communities have helped mangrove forests thrive 

Around the world, there are countless examples of collaborations that have helped coastal communities and mangroves to thrive together.  

For example, in Pakistan, mangroves are concentrated mainly in the north along the Arabian Sea coastline where arid climate prevails. Under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, 43.50 million plants will be planted in one of the world’s largest endeavours to restore mangroves.  

This ambitious project will not only provide a natural barrier against erosion, climate disasters but will also restore breeding grounds for finfish and shrimps. It has the potential to improve the livelihoods of fishing and herding communities living in the many coastal villages dotting the country’s northern shores.   

A man leaning into a body of water to plant a mangrove tree. Mangrove trees are incredible trees. They act as climate change heroes because of their incredible ability to sequester carbon.

Mangrove planting has been increasingly considered a Nature-based Solution (NbS)  

This enthusiasm, seen through national policy commitments and community-led initiatives, can now be assessed against a Global Standard for NbS, a criteria set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to ensure that these projects are credible and well-designed to maximise their full potential.  

Mangroves provide many benefits and their ability to store carbon cannot be ignored. It is a useful nature-based solution to help reduce our emissions but it’s not the only one! 

What can I do to further mangrove conservation? 

  1. Show your support for mangroves in native areas –
    Find out if mangroves are native to your surroundings. If they are, vocalise your support for them and educate your community on the importance of mangroves.

    If your local mangroves are subject to degradation, rally support for preservation and speak to your local authorities. You can also keep track of mangrove restoration through the Mangrove Restoration Tracker tool.  
     
  1. Be a considerate tourist –
    Mangrove tourism exists across 93 countries, with boating being the most popular activity. So next time you travel, appreciate mangroves and the diverse wildlife they host but don’t leave anything behind!

    You can also participate in mangrove planting, for example, in the Philippines, through the Planeterra Project.  
     
A bridge leading across water and into a mangrove forest.

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How can I tackle a problem as complex as climate change?

A ripple of water. Ocean Generation makes environmental science easy to understand and shares how each individual has a ripple effect on the environment and health of the Ocean.

The Ocean has never been this subjected to the level of intensity of climate change impacts caused by human activities. With every 0.1 degree C of warming, we make it more and more difficult for humans, flora, and fauna to adapt. 

A warming Ocean means that marine ecosystems like coral reefs and salt marshes are less able to host marine biodiversity and sustain many benefits for humans.

This also disrupts the Ocean’s ability to regulate the global climate system, water, and carbon cycle. 

It goes without saying that the climate crisis is now a defining issue of our lifetimes, and we have a slim window of opportunity to reduce our collective impact. 

Four images side by side: Rough blue Ocean waves and foam, a factory releasing carbon emissions behind a field of yellow floowers, a single green lead on a crusty dry piece of Earth, a bright pink and healthy coral in the Ocean. Ocean Generation makes climate science simple to understand.

Is there a way out of the climate crisis? 

The Ocean stores 20-30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities but this is unsustainable, resulting in an acidic, slow circulating, less oxygenated Ocean.

To put it simply, we need to rapidly reduce our emissions to give young people and future generations a chance to secure a sustainable future.  

According to the latest IPCC report, we need to cut global GHG emissions by nearly half by 2030. These emissions come from electricity production, food, agriculture, land use, industry, transportation etc. Cutting emissions requires global collaboration and cooperation – from governments to individuals.  

The challenge is immense, but the solutions could not be clearer.

A ripple of water. Ocean Generation makes environmental science easy to understand and shares how each individual has a ripple effect on the environment and health of the Ocean.

What do we need to do to limit global warming?  

Some of these solutions have already been set in motion: Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, increasing uptake of clean energies, restoring carbon sinks, and much more. The slow pace of adoption and funding associated with these solutions have been repeatedly questioned, given the world is currently at 1.1C.  

The effects of climate change are already being felt in different corners of the world, albeit disproportionately.  

In order for us to stay within any warming limit, we need to make the necessary changes needed to sustain humanity as a whole. And as individuals, each and every one of us have carbon footprints attached to our households and lifestyles.  

We must address the fact that
we do not emit emissions equally 

Globally, there are huge disparities between those who over-consume and those who consume less due to socioeconomic and geographic factors.  

In fact, the top 10% of high-income households contribute 34–45% of consumption-based household GHG emissions and the bottom 50% contribute 13–15%.  

These stark differences mean that individuals in the top 50% are the in the best position to reduce their emissions, giving the opportunity to raise living standards for those in the bottom 50%.  

When considering our lifestyles, the conclusions are quite similar. 

What impact do our lifestyle choices have on carbon emissions?  

According to 2022 UNEP report, “the lifestyles of the wealthiest 10% of the world’s population (broadly speaking, most middleclass persons living in industrialised countries), are responsible for almost half of the global emissions, while the lifestyles of the wealthiest 1% are responsible for about twice as many GHG emissions as the poorest 50%”.  

Lifestyles are not just about the things we consume, but also addresses the communities we live in, the values we foster and the choices we make.

Individuals that are socio-economically well-off are in an instrumental position for enabling change. One paper suggests that individuals in this category could reduce emissions as role models, citizens, organisational participants, investors, and consumers.  

Ultimately, environmental, and societal well-being go hand-in-hand; it is in humanity’s best interests to fairly consume within our means.  

Footprint made of sea shells on the sand at a beach. Each of us has carbon footprints attached to our households and lifestyles. We can minimise our impact with every decision we make.

What can people to do to lower their carbon emissions 

There are four key areas where individuals can have the most impact: Food, transport, housing, and the things we buy (like appliances, clothes etc).  

There is no denying that industry supply chains have a responsibility to reduce environmental impacts and provide sustainable choices. Small, and local businesses also tend to be more transparent, gaining consumer trust. Low-carbon alternatives exist in each of the aforementioned areas, and we can collectively vouch for further changes, whether that’s accessibility or affordability.  

At Ocean Generation, we will be covering climate change solutions under each of the above areas through 2023. Namely:

What we Eat food sources, diets, and food waste 
How we Move modes of mobility 
What we Purchase appliances, fashion 
How we Live energy sources and energy-saving behaviours 

Four areas where individuals have agency over their emissions: how we move, how we live, what we purchase and what we eat. Ocean Generation will be covering solutions related to climate change because climate solutions are Ocean solutions. We cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy Ocean.

Climate change solutions are Ocean solutions, and vice versa.

The finite resources on this planet need to be utilised efficiently and distributed equally while minimising our impact with each and every decision we make.  

The future of the Ocean is very much in our own hands.  

With every 0.1C degree warming avoided, biodiversity and humans are given another chance. Let’s make every choice count!  

The future of the Ocean is in our hands. To have a healthy planet, we need a healthy Ocean. Ocean Generation shares climate change solutions and Ocean solutions to safeguard our planet.

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20 Actions to Reduce and Reuse Plastic

The most effective way you can address plastic pollution is rethinking your relationship with it.

We’re sharing 20 ways you can reduce and reuse plastic.

Making these simple plastic swaps and adopting more sustainable daily habits will reduce plastic use, pollution from reaching our Ocean and ensure a healthier, greener planet.

Enough talk – let’s take action.

1. Buy a reusable shopping bag or tote.

Reduce your plastic use by purchasing reusable tote bags.

2. Use a reusable drinking cup.

3. Buy fruit and vegetables with plastic-free packaging.

4. Buy dry goods using your own reusable containers, instead of buying them in a single-use packet.

5. Buy a plastic-free cosmetics or household products, like bamboo toothbrushes or a bars of soap.

6. Ensure that nothing you purchase contains microbeads. They’re often found in children’s toys, toothpaste, bodyscrubs, and household cleaning products.

7. Make your own lunch instead of buying one wrapped in a single-use plastic wrapper

8. Swap over to reusable milk bottles. Even plant-based milks can get delivered to your doorstep these days.

9. Try having a plastic free period – check out mooncups, period pants and reusable applicators.

10. Use a silicone container or silicone lid instead of cling-film to store food.

11. Buy your butter wrapped in paper – you don’t need a plastic butter dish.

12. Choose cans over bottles when buying fizzy drinks and never buy bottled water.

13. Don’t celebrate events with balloon releases, the chances are the balloons will land in the Ocean.

14. Cigarette filters contain plastic and butts are some of the most frequently-found pieces of marine litter.

15. Wear clothes made from natural fibres like cotton, linen, bamboo or hemp vs polyester, nylon or spandex.

16. Try using pencils instead of pens. If you use a biro – use one that can be re-filled.

17. Ditch the single-use razors, nappies, and lighters. We have so many alternatives available to make sustainable swaps and reduce our daily plastic consumption.

18. Avoid plastic accessories, such as, hair bands, hair clips and jewellery.

19. Say no to plastic straws – use paper or bamboo straws instead.

20.  Pick up litter – even if it isn’t yours! Don’t let it reach our drains and waterways.

Finally: Remember that plastic was designed to last forever,
it has no place as a single-use material apart from in medicine.

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Say Ocean – not oceans.

There is only one Ocean.  

At school, we may learn that the Ocean has five separate regions, namely, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Artic and Southern Ocean. 

But our Ocean is not separated by borders. It’s connected as one and it works as a whole to help make all life on Earth possible.  

Connection with our Ocean

Talking about ‘Our Ocean’ as one Ocean reinforces the notion of its interconnectedness. 

We must all understand that: What happens in one part of the Ocean will have an impact on another part.

When 29,000 rubber ducks were washed into the North Pacific Ocean, they began showing up thousands of miles away in Alaska, Washington 10 months later.

This was known as “the quack heard around the world” and proved that a rubber duck (or a plastic bottle or whatever else) if chucked into a river could move across the Ocean and end up on the other side of the world. 

29,000 toy rubber ducks washed into the Ocean. 10 months later, they were showing up all around the world. It proved that our Ocean is one, connected system.

A similar story happened, when almost five million pieces of Lego escaped into the Ocean off the coast of Cornwall, spilled from a cargo ship. The tiny, plastic figurines are still being washed up on the beaches of Cornwall 25 years later

This not only highlights the interconnectedness of our Ocean, but also how our actions impact the entire Ocean.

What is your relationship with our Ocean?

We are all connected to the Ocean through weather, climate, and the very air we breathe. But everyone has their own unique experiences of the magic and beauty of the Ocean.  

We swim, sail and bathe by the beach. We eat fish or seaweed in sushi. We use products that are imported from other parts of the world – by boat. We listen to Ocean sounds on Spotify to relax us.  

Biologist Wallace J Nichols, the author of Blue Mind, says “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.”

But the ways the Ocean provides life-support – like how it supplies the oxygen we breathe and nourishes the crops we eat – remains far less understood. 

This is where we come in.
Here at Ocean Generation, we want to rebuild this connection.

A diver in the Ocean, representing our connection with the Ocean. The Ocean supports all life on Earth and Ocean Generation wants to rebuild this human, Ocean connection so we can understand its importance.

Every drop of water is connected.

We don’t usually think of the water that comes out of our taps as the same water in the Ocean. But to quote a little fish…

All drains lead back to the Ocean.

Finding Nemo

The water that we use every day and the waterbodies in our communities connect us to the Ocean. All water eventually flows out to the Ocean.

Our Ocean is weaved into every part of our daily lives – and our actions have extraordinary impacts on it. 

#WeAreAllOcean

Want to feel more connected to our blue planet?

Join the Ocean Generation

The Ocean Generation is coming together to restore a healthy relationship between humanity and the Ocean. As the first generation to understand ocean issues, we are also the last generation who can stop them. 

We are all the Ocean Generation

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