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Keep up to date with Future Focus 21c


Our Ocean, Our Legacy

As part of her role at CoDesRes, Eleanor Turner and the rest of the team are keen to share their work and make connections with researchers and organisations, both locally and globally, and particularly on real-world issues that examine SDGs 4, 11, 14 and 15.

High-level ocean leaders meet annually for a two-day conference that focuses on the ocean. They examine what solutions can be innovated to clean and protect the ocean and how to use its’ resources in sustainable ways. In 2014, the Our Ocean summit was created to represent the work of young leaders in global environmental discussions. Alongside the conference, world leaders make commitments to funding further research and protecting species or areas from overfishing and degradation. This is particularly relevant for us on the Iveragh Peninsula; Kerry has the longest coastline in Ireland; there are issues that the Iveragh Peninsula communities are dealing with daily that sit obviously within the four goals we are working with.

The conference took place in Bali, Indonesia from the 29th-31st October. Attendance of the summit is via an application process, with 500 entries coming from 65 countries. Of these; only 200 individuals are successful. Eleanor and her colleague from Sea Synergy, Sara Albrecht were two of the chosen participants. An excellent opportunity! Our Youth Transition Leader and Sea Synergy Director; Lucy Hunt, and world sailor; Damian Foxall also attended the conference, bringing a strong South Kerry representation to Bali.

A meeting with Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine; Michael Creed, and other Irish government representatives gave Eleanor the chance to discuss Ireland’s place in the world picture of ocean sustainability and how we in South Kerry are contributing with positive actions that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Eleanor also worked with a local group, Divers Clean Action on coral restoration work, with a chance to snorkel and dive on the reef and see the new structures being placed on the seabed to help recreate what has been lost.

Former U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry spoke at the Youth Ocean Leadership summit of the power of young people to create change. Participants were invited to the stage to pitch their ideas to aid in creating partnerships, international collaborations and sharing experiences. From working to create new protected areas, promoting sustainable fishing practices, harnessing energy from the ocean, raising much needed awareness through engagement projects, and reducing plastic pollution in the ocean; youth leaders are showing the world what our young people are capable of contributing to global actions and improving ocean health. It was great to hear first-hand about new ideas and initiatives out there, as we embark on the SS Net Reuse Project, alongside Sea Synergy. This 10-month programme is supported by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and works with local communities to re-imagine a new story for offcuts of manufactured nets and life cycle analysis of nets. The research we are undertaking here, ties in directly with SDG 11 and 14. We are offering places to Transition Year students during their work experience placements in February, expanding on the work they are doing in class with us.

Here, on the Iveragh Peninsula, there is so much our communities are already doing to protect the ocean and live more sustainably. From green schools, to our local markets selling local produce, to beach cleans and species conservation; we are changing the world everyday with local actions that adds up to a much bigger impact.

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