Given the many impacts humans have on our ocean and the extent of these impacts, it can be challenging and a bit overwhelming to make choices about how to reduce the harm done. One might ask, "Does it really matter that I purchase sustainable seafood when millions of people are not doing the same?" Taking action to protect our ocean is important at the individual level, even if it means picking up trash at the beach or choosing to eat at a restaurant that offers sustainable seafood instead of other seafood restaurants. When these individual actions are aggregated across many people, real change can happen. Students seem to know that the ocean is in danger and that everyday actions impact the ocean, but they do not necessarily grasp the scope of the problem or the scale at which actions need to be taken. They also tend to characterize certain actions as "good" or "bad" without understanding why. Like many adults, children may view ocean-related issues as faraway problems or think that the ocean is so vast that it can handle the pressures put upon it. Other students may be interested in helping but may only focus on visible actions that individuals can take as opposed to collective actions by groups.
Watch this video of 5th and 7th grade students in coastal communities in California. The purpose of this classroom video is to hear student ideas about actions for protecting the ocean and to think about how to use this information to plan instruction.
For additional classroom context, video analysis, and reflection opportunities, read the Picture of Practice page for "Ocean Action" in the One Ocean Environmental Literacy Teacher Guide, page 136.