Students recognise the importance of World Oceans Day

9 June 2020

To mark World Oceans Day, 8 June 2020, Year 8 Geographers at the Senior School focused on the impact of micro plastics in the ocean. Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, ocean conservation and action is still of the upmost importance – the ocean can be an ally in the fight against the virus.

During online learning at home, the girls took inspiration from a short video made by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), discussing the issues highlighted which launched their challenge to design posters to educate the public on this important global matter. The girls were surprised to read that the health of the ocean is intimately tied to the health of humankind and that organisms discovered at extreme depths are used to speed up the detection of COVID-19.

The preservation of marine life and the importance of reducing the amount of plastics found in the oceans is a topic students at St Mary’s feel particularly passionate about. Earlier in the school year, the Year 10 Eco team led a video conference on this subject with schools in Australia, China, India and South Africa as part of a series of discussions on important global issues. The schools involved were all members of the international Round Square organisation, a worldwide network of 180 top schools in 50 countries of which St Mary’s is global member.

Mrs Sarah Wilding, Head of Geography and Eco-Schools Co-ordinator said “As an island nation, the sea and what it has to offer us is a vital resource. We decided to focus on World Oceans Day, to highlight these important issues, but also as an Ambassador Eco-School, it is our responsibility to foster a sense of stewardship amongst our young people. St Mary’s supported the Keep Britain Tidy: Great Spring Clean Up campaign this year and despite lockdown, students carried out litter picks, many of which took place along the Essex coastline.”

World Oceans Day has been celebrating the ocean on 8 June every year since 2002. For 2020, World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 – a campaign called 30×30. By safeguarding a least 30% of the ocean through a network of highly protected areas, the movement can help ensure a healthy home for both marine and human life.

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