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Preserving oceans and water

Taking action - oceans and seas

Coral Reef Island
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Quick facts Did you know?


  • Oceans and seas are the life blood of people and the planet

  • Cover 70% of the planet’s surface

  • Supplies half the oxygen we all breathe

  • Provide food/livelihoods to more than a billion people in coastal areas 

  • Coastal seas are home to 90% of all marine species. Sunlight helps grow sea plants that feed sea life and provide protective cover

  • Oceans support coral reefs, river estuaries’ salt marshes, mangrove forests, and underwater sea grasses which all provide oxygen.

  • Up to 10 times more carbon is stored in coastal habitats than tropical forests per unit area

  • There are more than 260,000 different species living in the seas with more to be discovered

  • Human activity affects oceans and is making species extinct, by turning them hotter and more acidic.

  • Plastic pollution prevents light and oxygen getting through

  • Fishing provides income for over 200 million people around the globe

  • 3 out of 7 people in the world depend on seafood as their main source of protein, but fish stocks are falling.

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What schools can do


  • Refuse Plastics, Reduce and Recycle where possible to prevent plastic getting into oceans

  • Understand how pollution has heated the atmosphere that affects oceans and weather patterns across the globe

  • Reduce our carbon footprint

  • Reduce use of fossil fuels and their products to slow global warming

  • Take litter home when visiting the coast

  • Organise beach cleaning and awareness depending on where you live

  • Do a school project to find the marine protected areas in your country where no fishing, mining or shipping are allowed in coastal waters in order to let fish stocks recover

  • Write classroom letters to environmental authorities or elected representatives. Find out how your country’s coastal waters are being protected from chemical and plastic waste prevention that flow from rivers and waterways into seas  

  • Get more ideas for action from the teaching and learning links

Image by OCG Saving The Ocean

​​Teaching and learning resources 


Conservation International works with fishing and coastal communities around the world to help protect the oceans in these areas. Learn more for teaching.


Protecting the ocean to protect humanity



Reef check empowers people to save reefs and oceans around the world, through education, research and conservation.



American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) explores the importance of our oceans and understanding marine biology



Check out the WWF lessons on oceans in these links


Food from oceans 


Marine Stewardship Council in the UK is an independent certification body that awards ecolabels to seafood that is fished and caught sustainably. The ecolabel helps buy recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices. It helps the consumers make choices about which fish we choose to buy. 


MSC is working with small fisheries and their program is to increase the number of these fisheries. 


In other parts of the world there may be different labels for sustainably caught fish and seafood that helps to preserve fish stocks.  Find out what they are in your region.




Here is a checklist to think about when you eat fish


  • Eat sustainable seafood: Take a look at the information 

  • Look for the blue MSC label

  • A lot of fish caught in Europe and UK are sent around the world.  More than 18,000 tons of MSC certified sustainable fish and seafood made it for sale around the world during 2019/20

  • Look for the Blue MSC label. You will find them on a variety of fish like Cod, Haddock, Hake, Halibut, Herring, Hoki, Mackerel, Prawn, Salmon, and Sardines.



Meet the people behind sustainable seafood – learn about their stories here 


MSC is working with 100 different fisheries across more than 20 countries. They are now able to certify small scale fisheries whose produce are available to the local markets or exported.



Story from Indonesia


Consumers wanting MSC certified fish led to tuna fishing companies and their canning company to apply for certification.  Tuna from Raja Ampat Indoneasia.



Story from East Vietnam

Ben Tre Clam fisheries.



Play the seafood game from WWF to check how well you do on your carbon footprint.  Click the link below and go fishing!

Water is our health

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Quick Facts - Did you know? 


  • 97.5% of the earth’s water is salty, 2.5% is locked in polar ice caps and glaciers.

  • Only 0.5% of water is left for us to use in lakes, rivers and groundwater for agriculture, industrial and personal use

  • Of this 0.5% of useable water around the world, agriculture uses 70%, industry 20%, with less than 1% being safe to drink free from pollutants

  • The global population has tripled in 100 years, and water consumption has increased 6 times

  • Up to 30% of water in our cities is lost through leaks

  • Average personal use in wealthier countries is 3000 litres a day, with showers using 17%, toilets 30%, leaks 15% of our daily water use   

  • The majority of household and industrial cleaning materials contain toxic chemicals which enter the water supply system through waste water.  It can then leach into the soil and contaminate it while it grows our food.

Image by Tosab Photography
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What schools can do

  • LEAKS LOSE WATER – make sure there are no leaky pipes, taps, or toilets in school or at home

  • ADJUST WATER PRESSURE – did you know that having taps and shower heads with aerators and water saving toilet flush systems can save 30% of water used?

  • SHORTER SHOWERS – at home OR outside 5-minute shower can save 3 litres every minute 

  • STOP POLLUTING WATER with chemicals – look at what chemicals are being used at school or home for cleaning. What glues and paints are used for art projects?  Are there harmful chemicals being washed into our water?

  • SWITCH – to plant-based cleaning products. Avoid dyes and fragrances

  • Use soap bars for hand washing and bathing

  • MAKE YOUR OWN – have a fun project in class and make your own from natural store cupboard materials.

Start a conversation and find out how much water you can save.


  • Water depends on weather patterns and rainfall. This affects the land.  Sometimes no rainfall causes droughts in many places, the water table and reservoirs can drop their levels. 

  • Too much rain can cause floods. There is uneven distribution of clean water across the globe.

  • Water has a cost and is part of a circular loop. There isn’t an endless supply of fresh water.  Cities, Industries, homes, schools discharge waste water. This grey water can be treated and recycled back to us to use.   

Teaching and learning resources 


Take a look at this video


TED ED – Are we running out of Clean water


Find out more about cleaning and watch the video 20 Natural Cleaning Recipes Tip on this page:



Learn more about water loss here and watch some videos on the preventing water loss page



Here are some teaching resources links to find out what you can all do in schools to preserve water and some fun activities.



Here are some specific challenges and activities to help you design fun activities. Get some ideas for making your own posters from these examples.



AMNH interactive information on water. Find out all you need to know about why water makes life on earth possible. For younger children



Drops of knowledge for Rivers of Change”  

A nine – part global water-education guide “Lessons and activities highlight the value of water and its interconnectedness to all parts of life and the need to care for our planet



Without water - How others are affected around the world


Water Aid International works around the world getting clean water to communities that need it.


785 million people, that’s 1 in 10 people, around the world don’t have access to clean water. Water crisis stops people from having an equal chance to be healthy, educated and financially secure.


Water sanitation and hygiene are the focus of SDG Goal 6.  Many countries are several decades behind from having safe drinking water, clean toilets and hygiene to prevent water borne disease.


Read the stories how water and health can transform lives.



Clean water, good hygiene practices can transform lives.  Globally 3 billion people, that’s 2 in 5 people, lack handwashing facilities at home.



Around the world 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illness.


Read about what Water Aid did to raise awareness of school children and their access to clean water.



Ditch the dirt and get clean water - an exciting classroom experiment making dirty water cleaner. Take a look at Practical Action classroom resources

Find more learning resources and videos here

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