The Northern Water Club: awareness, action, and a sense of community to create blue value
“What if time spent in or around water was as effective as (or more immediate than) an antidepressant? What if we could treat stress, addiction, autism, PTSD, and other ills with surfing or fishing? What if your doctor handed you a prescription for stress or ill health that read, “Take two waves, a beach walk, and some flowing river, and call me in the morning”?”
- Blue Mind, W.J. Nichols
As we are classmates but mainly friends who have a big passion for the ocean, we immediately knew that we had to combine our strengths to form a team for the Value Creators semester. We therefore decided to start the journey together, which resulted in an even stronger friendship. Our topic was obvious: it had to be about the ocean. But then what; starting big or small? Driven by the wish of having an impact, we knew we had to scale down. Our initial thought was to tackle the complex issue of the underestimated economic value of the ocean, in connection with Blue Economy and sustainability. However, during the first month, we figured out that this topic was too broad, and too far away from our original aspiration, so we had to narrow it down again. After attending a summit about the serious effects of microplastics on our human health and well-being, and talking to people among them our valued coach, we realized that there is a vital need to connect humans with the water world.
When the two of us are near the ocean, we always feel a certain magic that we find hard to describe. A feeling that gives us a sense of peace and relaxation. It has helped us in difficult times and released our stress. The water, the sea, and the ocean are places where we stop overthinking, where our brain is in complete rest. We decided that we wanted to share this special feeling with the people around us, people who might be in need of it. So, by encouraging people to let the brain relax and turn on the ‘blue mind’, we wanted to make them feel the power and healing of waters; ultimately, triggering a similar sensation we feel, as we are happier, more connected, and overall healthier when near, in, or under the sea.
Over the course of the semester, we therefore dove deeper into the topic of the ‘blue mind’, learning more about the scientific effects water has on us humans, as well as the other way around. Knowing that there is a lack of awareness about the true value of water, suddenly everything fell into place. This was our topic!
Value Creators allowed us to talk and reach out to so many interesting people, businesses, and organizations, that it was only with them, that we saw the importance of creating a new website. Thus, with our main intention of closing the gap of the available information shared and accessible online, we wanted to spread the word and benefits of developing a ‘blue mind’. With the building and strengthening of a relationship to waters, we also saw the valuable opportunity of humans becoming keener to protect, care and enjoy the gift of our natural world. Additionally, next to insightful information on the effects on health and well-being, we also imagined hosting events and activities. In other words, The Northern Water Club was already born!
Now, after the launch, on the The Northern Water Club website, we share a great deal of information about the benefits water can have on our brain and general health. We promote several activities near, in, or under water that can make you experience the power of blue spaces. Furthermore, we refer to places, businesses and organizations that are working in close contact with both, humans, and water, inspiring and inviting people to joint experiences. Most importantly, at The Northern Water Club, we put great value in the sharing of water stories. We believe that by sharing stories, poems, and experiences all related to the power water can have, the way it shapes our lives and memories, we can create a sense of community. We believe that there are so many untold stories that need to be heard, as every story holds the power of making a difference - we often underestimate the value of sharing our views and experiences with others.
Looking back, we are grateful for the opportunity to having been able to combine our passion with our study, and the personal and professional learning curve that resulted in it. So, it is with enthusiasm and pride that we can honestly say to have put our passion, sweat and salty tears into the creation of a beautiful and useful platform: The Northern Water Club.
We created something that can hopefully open eyes, and help many people around the northern waters, maybe even around the world. We created something that can develop and evolve in the upcoming months and years. Something that we can, want, and will put our energy in. We see a future in the relationship with humans and water; we see a future for our oceans. Can you see it, too?
Closing, we hope to have inspired you to go outside, find your own connection to the magic of water, and give back something to all the watery places that can help us so much.
Now, go check it out, and share a surf, share a story & share the stoke!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @northernwaterclub
Marit Oomens: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marit-oomens-b737b0aa/
Zoé Kerkhof: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zoé-kerkhof-4635021a3/