Our ocean, our future: 10 organisations and campaigns to watch in 2022

The belly of two sharks swimming in kelp.

The ocean is home to most life on Earth, and responsible for approximately 50% of the oxygen produced on the planet. The reciprocity between the ocean and life on Earth is increasingly understood and appreciated, as are the powerful climate solutions the ocean holds. An estimated 83% of the global carbon cycle is circulated through the ocean and it is one of the world’s largest carbon sinks.  

However, the ocean should not be valued only for its regulatory role and the solutions it offers. Marine environments are awe-inspiring and deserve to be respected and protected in their own right. So far, though, we are failing in this regard. From the effects of the climate crisis to pollution and the exploitation of marine biodiversity, the ocean is suffering.

Over 60% of the world’s ocean is beyond national jurisdiction and belongs to everyone. Protecting and restoring the ocean and the life it sustains requires global collaboration and ambition. National interests must be set aside for the common good – to prioritise ocean and planetary health for the benefit of all living beings. Driving such collaboration, as well as awareness of the power and value of the ocean, calls for impactful and mission-driven communications. As we look ahead to 2022, we want to highlight brilliant organisations and campaigns powering positive action for the ocean – and by extension each and every one of us. 

1. Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) 

Led by Charles Clover, BLUE’s mission is to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030, and ensure the other 70% is responsibly managed. BLUE is focused on restoring the ocean by addressing overfishing, which negatively impacts both the ocean’s biodiversity and its ability to store carbon. To make this a reality, BLUE is working through policy intervention and on the ground with local communities. Founded in 2010, BLUE has achieved major campaign successes, established a model of sustainable fishing, and secured commitments to protect over 4 million square kilometres of ocean. 

Following BLUE’s recent announcement of three new marine protected areas in Italy, look out for more ambitious policy work in 2022. 

2. Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) 

SOA is a youth-led organisation accelerating innovative solutions to protect our ocean. The energy and achievements of the youth environmental movement have been extraordinary, and SOA is no exception. What began in 2014 in a college dorm room in Washington D.C. has become the largest youth-led network of ocean allies in the world, covering 165 countries. Founded by Daniela Fernandez, SOA empowers its network to create measurable impact by incentivising social and environmental investment and brokering fresh partnerships. 

2022 will bring more young change-makers to the Ocean Solutions Accelerator programme, and we can’t wait to learn more about their start-up initiatives. 

3. Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures supports coastal communities to restore ocean life. In partnership with small-scale fishers across the world, Blue Ventures designs, scales and strengthens fisheries management and conservation. It support fishers to secure and uphold their rights to access and manage traditional fishing grounds – protecting livelihoods and improving management. Blue Ventures also works for equitable participation in marine conservation, empowering women and girls who play a crucial role in traditional fisheries. 

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2022 marks the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture; look out for Blue Ventures amplifying fisher voices throughout the year. 

4. Lewis Pugh Foundation

Founded by UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh, the Lewis Pugh Foundation is working for environmental justice for our ocean. The foundation convenes and unites stakeholders around ocean protection. To date, it has helped protect over 2.2 million km² of the ocean. In 2021, Pugh became the first person to complete a multi-day swim in the Polar regions when he swam across the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland, before heading to COP26 to impress upon world leaders the need for immediate action on the ocean.  

This year, look out for the Antarctica 2020 campaign, which will continue the fight for three marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean. 

5. #DefendtheDeep

#DefendtheDeep is a campaign against deep seabed mining that would have irreversible impacts on the deep ocean, and exacerbate the climate crisis. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is responsible for governing and protecting the deep seabed – yet is pushing forward a mining code to allow deep sea mining by July 2023, regardless of regulations in place. Led by The Oxygen Project and SOA, the campaign has built significant momentum against this exploitation. Calls are growing for an urgent 10-year moratorium on deep seabed mining, from businesses such as Patagonia and Triodos bank, to countries such as New Zealand and Chile.   

With further meetings planned to push forward the mining code in 2022, follow the hashtag to keep updated on calls to action to defend the deep. 

6. GreenWave

GreenWave replicates and scales regenerative ocean farms that grow a mix of seaweeds and shellfish. The farms require zero input while sequestering carbon, rebuilding reef ecosystems and creating jobs. Sitting vertically below the ocean surface, this innovative farming model produces high yields to feed people with a small footprint. Founded by Bren Smith, GreenWave aims to support 10,000 farmers to catalyse the planting of 1 million acres in the next 10 years, creating a blue economy built and led by them.  

From a pilot fund to pay farmers for their climate-positive impact to their ocean farming toolkit, watch out for Greenwave’s innovation and training programmes in 2022. 

7. Only One

Founded in 2019 by Sea Legacy and the Blue Sphere Foundation, the Only One platform is a home for stories, solutions and community action to protect our ocean. This digital action hub amplifies stories and campaigns at the intersection of ocean health and social justice.  

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In 2022, look out for The Reef, Only One’s new community of ocean ambassadors. 

8. Mission Blue

Founded by the legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is igniting public support for a global network of protected ‘Hope Spots’ in our ocean.  

By documenting expeditions into the ocean wilderness, Mission Blue educates and inspires action to protect marine life. 2014 saw the release of the Mission Blue film, and a Netflix original documentary that follows Earle’s campaign to protect the ocean, highlighting threats such as overfishing and toxic pollution.    

In January, Mission Blue announced their first Hope Spot of 2022 in southern Mozambique. We look forward to celebrating more in 2022. 

9. Project Seagrass

Project Seagrass is dedicated to the protection of seagrass ecosystems. These flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along the coast are vital for biodiversity and people. They provide thousands of species with food and shelter, store vast amounts of carbon, and support livelihoods and food security. Despite this, 1 hectare of seagrass is lost every hour. Project Seagrass works through education campaigns, direct action programmes and research to urgently conserve seagrass.  

Look out for their #FunFactFriday on social media to learn more about seagrass in 2022. 

10. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) 

SAS is a grassroots environmental charity, creating ocean activists everywhere. Throughout 2021, SAS drove ambitious campaigns to help the ocean and people thrive, from the Million Mile Beach Clean – the most ambitious community clean ever undertaken – to their Water Quality Report, which exposed the sewage pollution blighting Britain’s beaches and rivers and mobilised swimmers, surfers and bathers to call for change.  

With such innovative and bold campaigns in 2021, we can’t wait to see what the SAS team bring to the table in 2022. 

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