Ocean Generation: A Creative Collective Championing Climate & Conservation
Last year I had the pleasure of chatting to one of the most inspiring environmentalists, Daisy Kendrick - a former UN intern and founder of ocean NGO, Ocean Generation. The collective uses creative avenues such as music, gaming, and digital platforms to bring important messages about the welfare of our oceans and fellow human beings to the forefront of our generation. Keep reading to find out more about her story and her incredible work.
1. Tell us a bit about your story. What inspired you to start Ocean Generation?
I founded Ocean Generation while interning at the United Nations, New York, in 2015, when countries were drafting and implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda; a new and ambitious agenda with 17 goals to set the world free from poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
I was working for the Small Island Developing State of Grenada and attended a lot of meetings around sustainable goals associated with climate change and oceans. This is when I understood how much humanity was beginning to suffer, especially communities on islands because of climate change.
I began researching and felt there was a lack of motivating content to engage millennial/gen Z in the climate fight and that’s when I began Ocean Generation, rethinking the approach to climate and conservation, using music, gaming and tech to make it the issue that mobilises my generation.
2. What are the main threats our oceans face today?
The Oceans impact every aspect of our lives. Oceans cover over 80% of our planet, provide oxygen, stabilize our climate system, sustain the livelihoods of 1 in 10 people, are the primary source of protein for over 3 billion people and are home to rich eco-systems of biodiversity below water.
And yet the world loves plastic. We use it in everything. An estimated 8+ million tonnes are dumped in the ocean every year and it is predicted by 2050 plastic will outweigh fish. People, especially in the developing world, are going to bed hungry at night because there are not enough fish left to catch.
The world also loves carbon, causing ocean temperatures to rise as well as sea levels. The populations on Small Island Developing States are faced with the prospect of becoming climate refugees and widespread flooding can cause contamination to drinking water supplies and destroy arable land.
It doesn't stop there either; the list can go on and on. The oceans and people are under huge threat. Everyone everywhere is affected by ocean pollution and climate change. This really is the war of our generation!
3. Can you tell us a bit about the projects you have led, particularly those in support of small island communities?
Ocean Generation sees the power in now to change the future of our planet and to do so, we must raise awareness and educate people. Last year we partnered with global game giant, Rovio to create three engaging games focused on ocean awareness for islands. We also released a commercial chart topping song, Oceans sang by Joss Stone which ignited a global influencer campaign #MyOceans.
The harsh reality of rising temperatures for 700 million of the most vulnerable people living on Small Island Developing States means access to food supplies, shelter, access to healthcare all decrease because of hazards and vulnerable climate situations.
In 2017, Ocean Generation created and piloted a global initiative to provide a resource of education based technology assets and learning skills to under privileged communities on these small islands. Now that young people can no longer necessarily depend on fishing for a sustainable income or may have to migrate in the near future due to climate change, we believe teaching the basic functionality on the latest tech to more advanced skills such as web coding and graphic design will help these young people achieve a brighter future.
In our first year, 2017, Ocean Generation helped fisherman access solar powered freezers to store their decreasing catches in Anse du Clerc, Haiti, introduced film/documentary summer workshops to young people in coastal communities in St. Lucia, as well as supporting Barbuda and St. Marteen with hurricane relief efforts with the launch of our Beyond A Click show at YouTube.
We are very much looking forward to kicking off 2018 in Antigua with our Dadlihack; a weekend hackathon developing solutions to support communities after natural disasters.
Building on our successful summer pilot program in St. Lucia last year, we will also be working with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and partnering with the University of the West Indies, to run more summer school series in St Lucia and Antigua to provide young people with the tech training and tools to be able to improve livelihoods and help save the oceans. This year’s theme is coding, and teaching young people to code to develop tech solutions to ocean problems.
4. What are your goals for the future?
To save the world we must first save our oceans. We must make sure that every young person affected by climate change and becoming a climate refugee migrates with dignity and skills.
By working with brands we hope to under-line the sense of urgency this problem needs to be met with, and look forward to solution orientated partnerships for excessive, wasteful, single use plastics.
We also hope to take our tech summer school programs from the Caribbean to the Pacific Islands, and generally continue building our Ocean Generation collective of engaged citizens with more music and mobile games!
5. How can people take action and help support your mission?
The answer starts with us - an individual commitment to make small lifestyle changes. There are so many things in the world that our out of our control, but steps to reduce the amount of plastic we consume or switch to sustainable products and innovation, will put us on the path to a better future.
Simple switches to make today could be;
To reduce plastic consumption by using a reusable water bottle or coffee cups
To recycle at home
To reduce your meat consumption or switch to a plant-based diet
To support and buy from truly sustainable, eco-friendly brands and companies
You can read more about their mission and projects at www.oceangeneration.org too.