The Ocean Action! conference brought together policy-makers, scientists, activists and artists from all over the world to call out the EU on its commitment to protect and restore our seas and oceans with the aim to chart a new route out of the current crisis - and guess what - Cyan Planet was part of the crew, too!
How can we build the future we want? In times of Fridays for Future - the spirit of action is all around us, many of us are too familiar by now with the usual charts showing temperature increase, collapsing fish stocks or unexpectedly high pollution levels. We can feel the current crisis all around us and are ready to act - we know what needs to get done, but how to get there is still open for a debate. Or so it may seem.
Hosted by “Seas At Risk”, an umbrella organisation of environmental NGOs from across Europe, the one-day Ocean Action! conference had three key focus points to equip us to create the future we want. The first one was to realise that “It is time we act for the ocean.” The time for plans and strategies is over, we know what needs to get done and now the focus should be on implementing those changes and figuring out what has been keeping us from doing so in the past. Ending overfishing, phasing out pollution from land and sea sources and better protecting wildlife and habitats against the impacts of our maritime industries are some of the examples that Ocean Action! focused on, where the problems are clear and we now just need firm political action to tackle those.
This leads into the second key focus point “We need all hands on deck.”
It is time for all ocean stakeholders to set sail together as a team with a unified approach. That’s why the conference brought together diverse participants ranging from academia to NGOs over policy makers to artists and relevant industry. Ocean Action! aimed to connect those stakeholders and focus on building connections and a common chart for the future. This brings us to the last key action point: we need a map. Our map is the Blue Manifesto, a rescue plan signed and agreed upon by more than 100 environmental organisations, laying out concrete actions which must be delivered to turn the tide towards achieving a healthy ocean by 2030.
Ocean Action! also tackled different challenges that await us on this journey such as “Communicating to the general public on ocean emergency”. In order to meet those challenges, we need tools - and that’s where Cyan Planet came in. Extended reality creates a strong emotional connection by evoking empathy and increases learning and engagement, which makes it one of the most powerful tools we have to overcome the current emotional deficit in the public perception of our oceans. Adding the action focused atmosphere of the day, Cyan Planet was there to showcase our successful examples of using extended reality as a tool for showcasing best practices in marine conservation as well as how it can be used for training and outreach to make this technology as accessible as possible by partnering with other organisations or as we like to call them now, the rest of the crew!