SCWIST Collaborates with Sea Smart to Inspire Action on Ocean Conservation, Sustainability & Diversity!

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As part of our SCALE project to build capacity, develop collaborative partnerships and inspire collective impact, SCWIST is collaborating with Sea Smart on a series of virtual workshops and resources focused on sustainability and diversity. The overall goal is to enhance our virtual engagement to reach more underrepresented groups. 

In May, Indigenous girls from across BC and Alberta explored careers in Marine Biology during a week-long after-school program

In August, Sea Smart delivered “Life Below Water” workshops for youth and professional development for teachers. “Life Below Water” is a UN Sustainable Development Goal, along with “Gender Equality”. There are 17 interlinked global goals that form “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people by the year 2030”. 

SCWIST’s Director of Community Building, Dr. Aska Patel, leveraged these innovative workshops as an opportunity to engage our SCWIST Chapter Leads including Christine Troskie from Alberta, and Dr. Anju Bajaj from Manitoba – who provided an introduction to SCWIST for each session.

Here are highlights from Anju on her experience:

“Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to represent SCWIST at the Sea Smart Workshops on August 11 (Workshop for youth 12-14), August 12 (Workshop for Youth 15-18), Aug 16 (Workshop for Youth-CAGIS), and August 17 (Workshop for Teachers).  It was very pleasant to be alongside Brittany (Sea Smart Facilitator) on the sessions focused on ‘ocean conservation, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the importance of highlighting diverse voices’. Brittany is an awesome facilitator, and she clearly explained the topic as per the age levels of the participants. “

It was wonderful to see that youth today do care about SDGs and very inspiring to listen to them passionately share their views on HOW to take action including:

  • “Educate others about it”
  • “If people work together then we might get more perspectives which might lead to better solutions”
  • “Work towards more renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels”
  • “Take political action … write letters, sign petitions, let politicians know that we care about ocean conservation”

In one of the youth sessions, Brittany and Anju had a deep discussion with one of the participants, Raya. “We found out that Raya has committed herself to completing 120 hrs of environmental volunteer work over the next year. Raya joined the workshop session to learn more about ocean pollution as she already does a lot for gender and LBGTQ equality but wants to expand her knowledge to learn more about how she can help the planet and the oceans. Her goal when she grows up is to be an Indigenous lawyer. Kudos to her!! “

Brittany, our Sea Smart Facilitator, also shared her personal insights: “The ‘Life Below Water: Ocean Conservation’ workshops have given us an opportunity to connect with youth all over Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia!  With small class sizes, participants were able to dive into discussions about the importance of the ocean, how gender equality and ocean conservation are tied together, and how they can help. Every workshop, I was left feeling inspired and hopeful for our future after hearing how much participants have and will continue to advocate for ‘Life Below Water’ and all the Sustainable Development Goals. Thank you SCWIST for funding these workshops. Thank you so much to Anju for joining the workshops. All her positivity and words of encouragement were a wonderful addition to the workshops”

On August 17th, Anju also did the intro with our SCWIST program highlights to the group of teachers: 

“Sea Smart Facilitator Hailey Renaud did an amazing job to capture the interest of the teachers during the Pro D workshop. I like the way she laid out her presentation with a good pace, true/false questions, some prompts, some videos, and overall great discussions amongst the group! We had one participant from India and I was glad that she found Sea Smart info from my Linkedin Profile as I was promoting that workshop. I was impressed that she attended the meeting early in the morning (as per her time zone) and participated in all discussions.”

Here are a few comments from the teachers about ocean conservation, the SDGs, and their input to solve the issues:

  • “Set definite times for outdoor learning wherever you teach. Rivers lead to oceans. Tech the water cycle. Encourage land connection, water connection, nature connection”
  • “We took youth on hikes at least once a week and usually near a water source, so discussions of the water cycle were involved”
  • “Rather than becoming “stewards” recognize that we are all connected, rivers, people, animals, trees, …. We are part of it all, not above it. We all need each other”

Hailey and Anju contributed more solutions to the discussion such as:

  • Wasteless lunch, wasteless day etc.
  • Campaign to walk/bike to school
  • Have monitors at waste separation station
  • Posters to spread awareness
  • Upcycle various items that would end up in the trash
  • Invite Sea Smart in to give a workshop in the classroom
  • DIY items that have less chemicals e.g. laundry detergent
  • Respect, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse.

All of these collaborative experiences during a short week in August build a strong foundation that is inspirational for all of us – especially how youth are volunteering their time to support sustainability, ocean conservation, gender equality and LBGTQ equality.

A big thank you to Anju and our SCWIST team for volunteering their time and passion! And congrats to Sea Smart for their creative expertise to integrate these important messages along with interactive discussions and learning activities – so that we can ALL take action towards the Sustainable Development Goals!

What’s next? Sea Smart will be providing some virtual resources to reinforce the learning opportunities.  These workshops will be available for SCWIST to engage youth in ocean conservation, sustainability and diversity. EVERYONE can learn more about Generation Equality to support the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Acceleration Plan here.  Learn more about how SCWIST advocates for Gender Equality and the SDGs as a recent nominee for the Canadian SDG Accelerators Awards.

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