Oceans of Optimism

An ocean special

Recent events have left the world feeling pretty heavy and, with the news and social media dominated by bleak headlines, it can be hard to see those glimmers of hope. So here we share with you some happier headlines from the past few weeks and your monthly dosage of optimism – an ocean special to show our love and respect for the big blue out there and the important work being done to protect it.

SEA-riously amazing news!

Wednesday marked a landmark moment with the agreement of a global resolution to end plastic pollution!! This is the most important environmental pact since the Paris Agreement in 2015 and marks significant progress, with countries from the around the world agreeing to start international negotiations on drawing up a global plastics treaty. This treaty could set rules for production, use and disposal of plastics for generations to come – a momentous moment on our journey to getting a truly global plastics treaty! In a week where we’re all feeling the weight of the world, let’s enjoy and celebrate this important environmental milestone.

A whale-y positive update from Iceland!

Finally, a huge win for the seas and for animal welfare! After years of campaigning, an end to whaling in Iceland is in sight, after government minister Svavarsdottir admitted that there was little justification for the practice nor proof of any economic gains, announcing that commercial whaling in Iceland could be banned by 2024. With hundreds of thousands of visitors annually travelling to see these spectacular mammals, it makes far more sense to stop the unnecessary killing and focus on this far more sustainable and ethical source of income for the island.

We’re having a whale of a time celebrating this news and hope that the move will spark worldwide change and put an end to the practice of commercial whaling in Japan and Norway too.

Start a Refill Revolution whilst grocery shopping

Big refill news coming from the supermarkets this week, with some of the UK’s biggest grocers coming together to provide ‘every shopper in the UK’ access to refillable groceries – either in a large supermarket or delivery service. Waitrose, Morrisons, Ocado and Marks and Spencers have joined the Refill Coalition Group to offer unpackaged options in-store as well as refill home delivery service. This is the kind of revolution we want to see happening – one brings refill and reuse into the mainstream and is accessible to everyone! We can’t wait to hear more on these plans.

I can SEA clearly now…

A Colombian renewable energy start-up E-Dina has created an ingenious cordless light that converts salt water into electricity which can create light 24 hours a day! The technology behind Waterlight is inspired by the science behind ionisation and, as a result, 500 millilitres of seawater can provide up to 45 days of light, acting as a reliable light source for off-grid communities.

The lamp was initially designed for the indigenous tribe, the Wayúu people, who live on the northernmost tip of South America. However, the companies goal is to provide lamps to the 840 million people who currently live without electricity. What a bright idea!

Girl Power for the Ocean! Introducing the Seawomen of Melenasia

Meet the UN Champions of the Earth whose tools for change are a mask and fins! These incredible women from the South Pacific region are monitoring the health of the fragile coral reefs in the area – and have been awarded the UN’s highest environmental accolade as a result! The Sea Women work in the Coral Triangle, an area subjected to huge amounts of underwater tourism and home to a major fisheries industry, and the aim is to safeguard the marine environment to ensure there is enough for local village communities to rely on in the future. Not all heroes wear capes – some wear wetsuits!

Seagrass Superpowers!

Seagrasses provide a novel ecosystem service by trapping marine plastics. Not only is it home to many oceanic species and is brilliant at capturing pesky carbon, but recent studies now suggest that seagrass meadows may also help remove micro-plastics from our oceans. A 2021 study found that seagrass meadows are providing a novel ecosystem service by trapping ocean microplastics – so not only are they one of Earth’s key ecosystems when it comes to goods and services, but they’re helping to tackle plastic pollution too! Now it’s up to us to stop plastic pollution at source to prevent it entering our oceans and waterways in the first place!

And if that wasn’t enough for this unsung ocean hero, seaweed yarnmaker Algiknit is opening an innovation hub in North Carolina to scale the production of eco-conscious yarns for global fashion brands – stylish and sustainable, seagrass really is the material to be seen in this year!

A Cuban Sealife Revolution

Cuba’s Este del Archipiélago de Los Colorados has now been certified a marine protected area (MPA). The 281 square miles is home to a whole host of incredible marine life including Antillean manatees, American crocodiles and critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtles. Plus vital ecosystems like mangroves and seagrass beds which will also be protected thanks to this decision to preserve Cuba’s coats and waters, helping to fulfil global marine conservation, and coastal protection targets. WCS has massively commended Cuba for such an incredible achievement – and so do we! Bravo!


Refill is a City to Sea Campaign. At City to Sea our vision is a world where everyone connects their actions to our oceans, so all life can thrive. Oceans and waterways around the world urgently need our help and we’re hugely grateful to our supporters for donating to City to Sea. Our donations go directly to our campaigns, powering on-the-ground community action, lobbying governments and creating powerful, playful content designed to inspire change.  

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