The Project Blue Next Generation is a youth-led initiative in Sri Lanka that aims to promote the important role the ocean plays in the world by bringing together different communities including Volunteer Organizations, Environmental Groups, researchers, activists, students, and more.
The project is a part of the British Council’s COP26 Challenge Fund and ‘The Climate Connection’ Campaign. The Climate Connection brings people around the world together to meet the challenges of climate change. Through arts and culture, education and the English language, it is about ideas, innovation and real change.
Climate change has been cited by many scholars and leaders as the most pressing issue facing humanity at present. To avert the adverse effects being caused by climate change, it is important to protect the environment. Marine/ coastal environment is a huge part of this as many ecosystems and wildlife are highly dependent on it.
Project Blue Next Generations aimed to both educate and motivate the younger generations to engage in marine environment protection, coastal conservation as well as climate change.
The Project had two major events, which were conducted through virtual platforms. The first workshop series ‘Let’s Start from Home to Protect the Ocean’, was attended by students from universities across the country. The event was organised by Project Blue Next Generation in conjunction with the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences of the University of Colombo.
It consisted of awareness sessions across a 3-day period as well as a 14-day activity plan that the participants were encouraged to follow at home. The activity plan focused on switching from non-biodegradable products to recyclable or biodegradable products at the participants homes, to help them adopt the habit of using biodegradable products in their day to day lives. This practice will also minimize the damage being caused to the environment, especially to the oceans.
The second was a series of webinars titled ‘Ocean Sustainability” which was designed to create awareness on several key topics and their impacts on marine life. The participants who attended these sessions were from a variety of backgrounds and were all very passionate about conservation as well as volunteering for community-based projects. The webinars were conducted by a panel of guest lecturers from the Department of Oceanography and Marine Geology of the University of Ruhuna.
The 3-day long webinar series addressed several topics including Sustainable Oceans and Innovation, Coastal Communities and Ocean Conservation which focused on the contribution of cities and communities on creating sustainable coastal environments. The webinars ‘Marine Education and Ocean Sustainability ‘focused on the
One of the participants from the workshop stated “I am very thankful to Project Blue Next Generation for organising such an amazing event. It gives me great pleasure to be a volunteer and contribute towards saving the ocean. It was also a great concept to elevate waste management. I am very glad to have been a part of this.
Sashreeka Senanayake, Coordinator for Project Blue Next Generation stated; “Overall, this timely Project showed how passionate young people are towards the mitigation of environmental issues and climate change, as well as the importance of conserving the ocean and marine environment by changing small habits, resulting in a new generation of socially responsible leaders.”
Project Blue Next Generation is highly content with what it has been able to achieve thus far. With the right support from organizations such as the British Council, they are confident that they will be able to make a difference in the world and contribute towards the preservation of the ocean for generations to come.