This guest post is written by Dr Cal Major Dr Cal Major, Founder And CEO of the charity Seaful.
Here at Seaful, we’re delighted that We Create Digital has chosen us to be their 1% for the Planet partner, after previously building our website for us at no cost to our charity. 1% for the Planet is a way that businesses can legitimately give back to environmental causes;
There is a wide range of environmental NGOs and charities who are members of the 1% for the Planet scheme, just as there are many ways to tackle the environmental crises our planet faces today. A multi-faceted approach is needed to mitigate climate change, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss, as well as the many social injustices that come hand in hand with these issues globally.
Here at Seaful, we believe that stewardship of our natural world comes from a personal connection to it. People will protect what they love, but they can only love what they know. We are focused on the preservation and protection of blue spaces, which all connect to our ocean, which in turn connects us all globally. And yet, in the UK, an island nation, one in five children has never been to the sea.
Our ocean produces the oxygen in every second breath we breathe, has already absorbed 25% of our anthropogenic carbon emissions and continues to play a vitally important role in regulating our planet’s temperature. Its ecosystems’ health are vital for these roles; preserving biodiversity and life within our seas allows ‘blue carbon’ stores to flourish, and for the overall health of the ocean to improve. Our seas are also an important source of food for billions of people globally, and inspire awe, wonder and joy in those who spend time there.
It’s clinically proven that time in and around blue spaces is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. Here at Seaful, we know that to be true for ourselves. But we want others to have the opportunity to experience it too. Our aim is to help more people find a connection to our blue spaces, to appreciate what time there means for wellbeing, to understand the importance of our seas, to experience awe and wonder at being there, and to appreciate their relevance in all of our lives through ocean literacy.
We have several projects, from our Vitamin Sea Project, actively taking participants who might not otherwise have the chance to blue spaces to experience it for themselves, our films, podcast and resources to help educate our beneficiaries and the public on ocean-related matters, and a recent addition, 360 VR headsets to help immerse people into the underwater at times, or in situations, where we might not be able to physically get them into the sea.
In 2022, we have taken groups of Young Carers to the stunning Lundy Island off the North Devon coast to snorkel and see the incredible underwater world in the UK’s first marine protected area for themselves. We have taken Ukrainian refugees paddleboarding, with incredible feedback on its benefits to their wellbeing, and we have taken school groups from deprived areas of Wolverhampton paddleboarding and nature walking in Shropshire by the River Severn. We have reached over 150 children and 40 adults in person, and as a new charity, are excited to build and grow on that next year.
We couldn’t do this without the phenomenal help and support of people like We Create Digital, and are so grateful for their support. Together we can help more people find their own personal and meaningful connection to the sea, open eyes and hearts, and create the next wave of ocean citizens, all whilst benefitting our societies’ mental health and wellbeing. The two are, after-all, so closely linked, as is our health and the health of our magnificent ocean.