Sustainable thinking is an integral part of Ocean College. The students volunteer in several local projects with environmental and social objectives. The UN Sustainable Development Goals also guide the selection, teaching and organisation processes at Ocean College.
Our students are constantly confronted with the pollution and deterioration of maritime ecosystems. One of the biggest threats to our oceans are micro plastic particles, but it is not known how large the negative impact of this pollution is on animals, reefs and algae. The students take action by collecting and analysing both water samples and fish for the NGO OneEarth-OneOcean.
The villagers of Hojancha had to fight increasing droughts after the destruction of their forests. To improve the ground water levels and to provide shelter for the local species, they formed the foundation Monte Alto. The students volunteer here by planting new trees, thus maintaining the ecological balance while learning about the work of local environmentalists.
In the long run, Ocean College aims to contribute to the foundation by buying land and building a research camp.
The Bribri, an indigenous people in Costa Rica, are threatened by increasing industrial and agricultural interests in their homeland. During a visit to them the students support the preservation of their culture, religion and practices. They spend time with the Bribri, learning about their way of life and connection to the rainforest, as well as help build a religious conical house.
In the long run, Ocean College will provide financial support to organizations committed to protecting the land of the Bribri.
Animals and trees in the rainforest around the world are in danger; poachers and illegal loggers are on the rise. However, rangers patrolling these forests make it harder for the criminals to succeed. The students learn how to guard the species and trees of the forests in a ranger training, where they install photo traps and obstacles during an expedition with our partner PlanetOneEarth.
The experiences from our first trip are described in Deutsche Welle.
To support our partners financially, Ocean College started trading coffee and other goods from the places visited – buying produce directly from farmers and sailing them back without using fossil fuels. The students learn about the meaning of globalisation and follow the supply chain from farms in the Caribbean to consumers in Europe.
Ocean College aims to increase these activities in the future, to create an income that empowers producers to further invest in their businesses, as well as a fund for our other local projects.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030 are the point of departure for every decision made by Ocean College. The students should also have their eyes and mind wide open during the journey and constantly work to improve life on board, the management of natural resources and the land projects. They should employ critical thinking about all details of their journey.
Five of the UN goals are especially important for us:
Quality Education – Ocean College offers a unique opportunity for education and personal development. The educational program is held to the highest standards and scrutinized on a regular basis. In the long run, Ocean College wants to offer a comprehensive scholarship program to make it possible for students without the financial means to be part of our program.
Reduced Inequalities & Gender Equality – Discrimination against gender, ethnicity, race or individual capabilities are not tolerated. Not only is discrimination the most serious offense on the journey, the students also work on community projects in Costa Rica to empower farmers and their families. Finally, there is always a 50/50 gender ratio on the ship.
Responsible Consumption –Reducing food consumption, resource use and our impact on the planet have a high priority. It is imperative for crew and participants to make responsible consumption a value that guides them through their daily decision making.
Climate Action – Ocean College supports reforestation of rain forests and trade with CO2-neutral goods. For example, by carefully purchasing and sailing coffee beans to Europe. The goal is to reduce the impact on the climate to a minimum and to create a positive CO2 balance in the long run.
Life below water -The research within the micro plastic project and beach clean-ups in the Caribbean actively support the protection of marine ecosystems. When visiting coral reefs or coastal areas and during the journey, no trash is left behind – what’s there should be taken away! The imperative is ‘Leave no trace!’.
Life on land -The same applies to the time on land. By supporting reforestation projects in Costa Rica (Puerto Viejo & Guanacaste Region) Ocean College actively protects ecosystems on land. In the long run, Ocean College would like to create a rainforest fund with alumni and partners.
This video gives you a better understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: