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Youth Seminar Seas and Oceans 1

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Exploring our seas and oceans in Hamburg!

In October 2017, fifty young people from around the UK and Germany met to gain a deeper understanding of the 2016-17 Year of Science theme - Seas and Oceans - and tackle these questions:

  • How does the ocean impact our everyday lives?
  • What do rising sea levels mean for our future?
  • Why does plastic litter matter?

Embarking on a journey!

From the Orkney Islands in the UK to Lake Constance in Germany, participants travelled far and wide to take part in the three-day youth seminar in Hamburg. They came with varying perspectives and different experiences but a shared enthusiasm to discuss the future of our seas and oceans with other young people. Over the weekend, the participants formed lasting friendships and learnt about similarities and differences in their cultures and environmental attitudes.

What do young people think?

In preparation, participants designed and carried out their own questionnaires at school to find out what young people in their area really think about the current challenges facing our seas and oceans. Visit our picture gallery to see examples of their work!

"Besonders die Begegnung mit Schülern aus Großbritannien war eine sehr große Bereicherung für mich."

Learning from the experts

Passionate marine biologists from the UK and Germany led the young people through workshops packed with discussions, activities and hands-on experiments in the following areas:

  • Ocean Literacy: Marine Biological Association
  • Ocean Litter: Kieler Forschungswerkstatt
  • Rising Sea Levels: Newcastle University

The participants heard first-hand about the shocking effects of litter on marine life around the world and were challenged to develop a mitigation city flooding plan for real-life scenarios. Together they discussed the current threats, possible solutions and learnt about different perceptions of climate change in the UK and Germany.

"I’ve really enjoyed this seminar! It has given me the chance to enhance my German skills, meet new people and most importantly learn much more about our seas and oceans, how we can protect them and educate others."

Exploring the German coast

Over the weekend, the young people also had the opportunity to explore the trade hub of Hamburg harbour, visit a coastal sea sanctuary and wade through deep mud on a tour of the UNESCO Wadden Sea mudflats (home to 10 billion ragworms!) The excursions gave the young people a real-life insight into the importance of the ocean in the locality of Hamburg and beyond.

From Hamburg to home

Having reflected on what they had learnt, the participants returned home equipped with plans on how to spread the word. They raised awareness of the current issues and changes we can make in our everyday lives, such as using less plastic, increasing recycling and doing local beach cleans.

The participants carried out workshops and presentations at school, created posters and wrote articles enabling their local community to gain a greater understanding of the ocean's vital role in our lives.

The seminar was organised in collaboration with the British Council in Germany.

What we learnt...

  • 100% of Mars has been mapped but only 5% of the ocean
  • There are 300 million tons of plastic in the ocean
  • Thermal expansion is the biggest contributor to rising sea levels

"Mit Gummistiefeln ausgerüstet kämpften wir uns durch das Watt..."

"We were introduced to the problems and given solutions to make a positive impact on the environment..."