Hello, I am Joe, a Year 10 student at Kingsley. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a passionate Environmentalist and have spoken out on many occasions about the health of the natural world. I am a proud member of the school’s Eco Council and have been involved with the Earth Centre at Kingsley as well as with awareness-raising amongst the students. I have recently been out of school working on a dive conservation project in the Caribbean with my family. While I was out there, I learnt many lessons and messages of hope which I shared with the rest of the school last Thursday in assembly. I have now been given the opportunity to share them with you.

We were working with a group based in Grenada called Caribbean Reef Buddy, they are a non-profit organisation which aims to protect and preserve a healthy, diverse and sustainable marine ecosystem. They take on volunteers, like my family and me, from across the globe and train them to partake in reef surveys, coral planting, lionfish containment, and beach cleaning amongst other things.

It was inspiring to see just how quickly a reef can recover if it is given enough breathing room but shocking to remember that in the last 70 years we have destroyed half the world’s reefs. I felt the drive to make some meaningful change and hope I can persuade a few of you to make simple changes to your lives which could greatly improve the health of the world’s oceans. These are to eat less fish because we do not have enough fish in our seas for seven billion people to be eating fish regularly, to consume less plastic because fourteen million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans annually and to lower your carbon footprint as climate change is warming the oceans meaning corals are bleaching and ocean currents are changing.

Without a healthy ocean, the human race cannot survive because amongst other things the ocean produces 80% of the world’s oxygen and sequester 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide. We are currently destroying our oceans at a rapid rate and, on the current trajectory, will have no commercial fish stocks by 2048. What happens next is up to you, one way or another, humans will decide the fate of the world’s ocean. The choice is yours.

Joe (Year 10)