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No Ocean - No Life

We need to respect our oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on them. Because they do.” Sylvia Earle

One could say our team was a match made in heaven. The four of us had an equal amount of fascination and curiosity for the ocean and we knew this would be a topic we would want to explore over the course of this semester. What we didn’t know was – what exactly we could do to make a positive impact… Let’s be honest, the ocean is a complex and huge system of animals, habitats, and regulatory mechanisms to keep it alive. Where could we possibly find our niche?

The process

The journey to our final product was more than chaotic. There was a high level of uncertainty about what it was we actually wanted to focus on. A high level of stress because, with each week, we became more pressured to find our way through the complexity of the topic. Despite these struggles, we went on a great exploratory journey of discovering diverse topics connected to the ocean, speaking to big organisations such as Sea Shepherd, MSC, The Ocean Decade, as well as single stakeholders like university professors, managers and alumni whose work is connected to marine matters. Even though it was great to gain insights into regulatory bodies, non-governmental organisations and more, we were struggling to secure interviews with people from the “opposing side” such as fisheries and aqua farming companies, for instance. At the end of our interviews, we were still left with the question: How and where in this net of problems our ocean is facing can we make a change? Do we fight overfishing? Do we go against the lack of monitoring systems when it comes to sustainable certification? Or do we start a campaign against aqua farming? So many questions, and no idea how to answer them…

The realisation

In order to gain an overview, we reviewed all interviews we conducted and came up with similarities in what people thought to be helpful. Eventually, we ended up focussing on a more creative and interactive approach to raise awareness for the crisis our ocean is going through at this very moment. And since we, as students, know what it’s like to not feel seen or heard in the conversation, we decided it would be a great idea to involve students to participate in a national contest. Students from all over the country can hand in a piece of art, whether that be sculptures, paintings, music, or other artistic forms, that express their hopes, fears, worries, and dreams for our ocean. The best pieces will be collected to be displayed in a multi-media exhibition that takes you on an immersive journey through the beauty of the ocean, the issues it faces, and the possibilities it brings for human life on earth – if treated correctly.

This exhibition is for old and young, for people without prior knowledge, and professionals from a field connected to the topic. It serves as a journey for each visitor to dive deep into the beautiful nature below the water surface. It guides you through the services provided by the sea to mankind, to the destruction created by human beings, and the possible future we could be facing if all the knowledge and ideas would be combined to restore biodiversity and replenish the ocean’s overall health.

Our journey leading up to our product was definitely challenging and filled with a lot of question marks along the way. Yet, we are very proud of this idea that will hopefully open many people’s eyes and make way for innovative collaborations to restore our ocean’s health. We are also proud to announce that the Ocean Decade Germany has expressed their interest in taking over this idea and we are excited to see this project come to life and hope you will enjoy the journey as much as we did!

Feel free to read through our final product using this link:

Ocean Conservation Group:

Kathrin Bangert

Fay Goedbloed

Charlotta Westphal

Marie Joost

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