From Ocean to Opportunity
Updated: Jun 8
The core of this challenge is to leverage ocean resources - turning these resources into value-creating opportunities for coastal communities. Here are some examples of ocean resources with great potential for sustainable utilization. Note that you are not limited to choose between these resources to join the challenge.
Ocean waste is a serious and increasing problem; Research shows that microplastics have found their way into the human body, to the bottom of the sea and into its habitat. Eight million tons of plastic annually enter the ocean. That is 15 tons of plastic every single minute! Studies suggest that the annual economic damage to the world’s marine ecosystem caused by plastic amounts at more than 13 billion euro!
The collection of marine litter typically happens on an ad-hoc basis, and there is limited knowledge about how to handle it once collected.
We call for circular solutions that can fix this broken model - by reusing, repairing, recycling and refurbishing the resources we already have.
From trash to treasure!
There is an increasing amount of ocean data freely available to the public across the world. On “data.world” there are 1187 ocean datasets available and the “EMODnet” portal provides access to datasets across areas such as seabed habitats, coastal mapping, marine biology, and marine human activities.
While there is an abundance of ocean data, we still face two major challenges: 1) How to turn ocean data into innovation opportunities and 2) How to collect missing ocean data.
We call for solutions that can use ocean data for innovative products and services for coastal communities or that can facilitate the collection of ocean data, preferably through the use of ocean waste as part of the solution.
Algae is a collective term for different single- and multicellular organisms living in humid environments. Algae are crucial for a well-function ecosystem, and sustainable management of algae can contribute to solving several environmental issues. A number of exciting usage areas of algae have been proven and experimented with during the recent years, including producing biofuel, energy, plastic, animal feed, protein and fertilizer.
A common macroalga is Seaweed. Seaweed is rich in minerals, vitamins, and many bioactive components that have plenty of health benefits. Did you know that seaweed also stores carbon? At the same time, there is an alarming diminishing of seaweed across the globe.
How can we best manage this valuable resource? We call for solutions to rebuild our ocean forests, sustainably solve for malnutrition and the increasing need for protein, or to solve other social and environmental issues.
With a growing population follows an increasing need for protein. Fish and other seafood are typically high in protein and low in fat, which makes them good options for a healthy diet. However, these species are not only beneficial for humans but also crucial for a well functioning ecosystem. Much due to our extensive fishing, stocks are declining all over the world and in danger of replenishing. According to the UN, one-third of the world's fisheries are currently pushed beyond their biological limits. This is not only a serious marine threat, but billions of people rely on fish as a source of protein and as their principal livelihood.
We call for solutions that can promote sustainable harvesting to support the worldwide need for protein and to support the livelihood of the people in coastal communities.
Despite that 70% of the globe is covered by water, fresh water is alarmingly scarce. Industries like agriculture are dependent on high amounts of water. According to The World Bank, agriculture usage accounts for approximately 70% of all freshwater withdrawals globally.
While over 140 billion liters of fresh water are used every day for flushing toilets globally, more than 1.2 billion people are lacking access to clean drinking water.
We call for solutions that can utilize the fresh water reservoir more sustainably and look at potential ways to replace freshwater usage with ocean water.
As the waves travel across the ocean, high-tech devices can capture the natural movements of ocean currents and the flow of swells to generate power. Wave energy technology is still at an early stage and there are several different technologies under development for optimizing the energy production from waves.
This is an area with high potential, and we call for new, more efficient solutions to provide reliable renewable energy to the grid.
The wind is a clean, free, and readily available renewable energy source. While land-based wind installations to parts are facing criticism for its harm to nature, offshore wind installations are pointed out to be the future of wind energy production.
Many coastal areas have high energy needs. Building offshore wind farms in these areas can help to meet those energy needs. The typical offshore wind turbines are larger than land-based turbines and can generate even more power. However, the current technologies are still expensive to operate and the impact on wildlife is unclear.
We call for solutions that can support the provision of reliable renewable energy in a safe and efficient way.
The ocean connects us all. In coastal communities, tourism is one of the most prominent industries, typically bringing the visitors out at sea, may it be for transportation, surfing, diving, or other recreational activities. Using boats run on fossil fuels is expensive and causes extensive harm to our planet. We have seen innovation across the globe that can green the tourism and transportation sector, ranging from developing electric ferries to autonomous ships with sails.
We call for solutions that can promote sustainable ocean transportation.