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World Ocean Day 8 June 2021

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World Ocean Day 8 June 2021

03 June, 2021

Did you know that almost three quarters of planet earth is ocean? And did you know that only 7% of the ocean is protected?

As we mark World Ocean Day 2021, let's make our collective aim to grow the movement in encouraging individuals and organisations to sign up to protect our land and ocean, with a target of 30% ocean protection by the year 2030. The ocean protection petition, led by Campaign for Nature, is calling on us all to 'preserve the world's existing intact areas and wilderness, protecting the rights of indigenous people, and ensuring our planet is sustainably managed."

So what does that involve?

Protecting our ocean involves global education, in the first instance. We need to underpin the importance of our ocean and support an understanding that without the ocean there would be no climate. That's how important it is.

The ocean has a significant influence on our earth's weather and climate - which makes sense given that around 70% of the planet is made up of water. It absorbs radiation and releases heat, as well as moisture and carbon, driving our weather patterns and making slow, subtle changes to our climate.

Much of our solar energy is sucked in by the ocean because of its natural capacity to pull in and cope with high temperatures. The ocean slowly releases those temperatures over a period of time, directly impacting the climate because of the storage of heat.

Watch the clip below on Protecting the Global Ocean for Biodiversity that is suitable for Key Stages 3 to 5 and follow it with a classroom debate that encourages a more in-depth climate conversation. 

Tackling plastic pollution through creativity and critical thinking

Funded by the British Council and UK Aid, you'll find a fully downloadble 54 page teaching resource on Life Below Water

Life Below Water is the fourteenth goal in the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which focuses on conserving and using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. This template project will help you support pupils in tackling plastic pollution, while developing core skills like critical thinking and creative collaboration.

Download Life Below Water Teaching Resources

Critical Thinking Objectives

To support interaction while embedding pupil learning, why not consider the following suitable for ages 9 to 13?

  1. Critical thinking: develop a good understanding of how plastics enter the oceans and the extent of the problem of marine pollution, as well as different approaches to tackling the problem.
  2. Creative collaboration: work in groups on a choice of mini-projects aimed at raising awareness of the problem of plastics in the ocean and, using innovation and problem solving, find a solution. This could be sharing ideas, selecting useful information, drafting and designing and presenting back.

Watch 'A Plastic Ocean'

The trailer video below shows a surfer and free diver discovering the extent of plastic pollution in the ocean. Did you know that more than eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year? This highlights the need for urgent change. 

After watching the video, briefly discuss pupils’ initial responses and thoughts, and which parts of the video stood out to them most - and why.

This resource pack from the British Council provides full teaching templates that will allow pupils to follow the Know, Wonder and Learn chart, where they can list their KWL activities and share them with others, ranking: what they know, what they wonder about and what they can and would like to learn more about.

In total, there are 10 lessons for classroom discussions on Life Below Water, suitable for a variety of key stages, with actions and activities that are both practical and that underpin the importance of climate change and justice. 

If you would like more help or to register for Teacher Professional Development on subjects linked to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, email

Resources to Support Classroom Practice and a Whole School Approach

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