Outreach
Bringing the Ocean to Society
8 Oct 2020
The winners of the #YoungOceanWaves contest celebrate the Ocean!
Get inspired by the artworks of young ocean lovers from around the world.

Between 14.07 and 18.08 2020, Instagram has been flooded with incredibly inspiring photos and videos about the ocean, under the #YoungOceanWaves hashtag. Over 136 photos and videos have been shared by people globally, in an effort and wish to share their connection to the ocean, its beauty, its power and its importance for people’s life and the planet’s health. EurOcean organised the contest, together with Ecologic under #EU4Ocean initiative.

After the final voting, on behalf of a professional Jury Panel, the first three winners have been announced during the EU4Ocean coalition: what, what for, how?” online workshop, in the frame of the 1st EU4Ocean workshop – Designing Ocean Literacy action in Europe, which took place on 24 -25 September 2020.

But more participants have been awarded prizes. You can learn about how their connection to the ocean below and watch the winning photos and videos here.

1st Winner: Djemila Tassin

About me and my connection to the ocean: Growing up in the Canary Islands, I have been surrounded by the ocean for as long as I can remember. I am an islander, fully passionate about sailing and about the seas. I graduated in oceanography and started training in MINI6.50, a very small sailboat dedicated to cross the Atlantic single-handed, with no external communication or assistance. Offshore sailing for me is more than a sport; it is a way of living. The Ocean is therefore more than a place to go; it becomes my home, literally!

What does the ocean mean to me? Passion, future and freedom.

2nd Winner: Mariana Mata Lara

About me and my connection to the ocean: The Ocean has been what has always pushed me to grow personally and professionally. It is my passion and my place for peace.

What does the ocean mean to me? Everything. It is my passion and my place for peace.

3rd Winner: Gabriele Tiskeviciute

About me and my connection to the ocean: I am a Wildlife Biology graduate from Lithuania with a huge passion for the ocean. I love all things water-related: swimming, snorkelling, SCUBA diving and SUP. I was lucky enough to dive in some of the most beautiful places in our world and witness amazing marine life, such as dolphins in Egypt, turtles in the Philippines, a whale shark in Mozambique, and a manatee in the Caribbean, not to mention the abundance of colourful fish and majestic coral reefs. I absolutely fell in love with being underwater - it is like being in a whole another world, which is teeming with marvellous life, yet is calm and peaceful. For me, taking a plunge into the sea feels like entering a sacred place, where all the real-life problems and time disappear. However, more often than not I got to see things, that weren't as beautiful: pollution, bleached and destroyed corals, and animals harassed by ignorant tourists. Us, humans, are closely tied to the ocean in many different ways. Unfortunately, we tend to forget that. My goal is to advocate for our seas, use my education to enact positive change, and share the beauty of marine life to remind everyone that it must be protected and cherished.

What does the ocean mean to me? The ocean is the sanctuary of my soul

4th Winner: Ilaria Stollberg

About me and my connection to the ocean: My name is Ilaria - a marine science student born in a landlocked city, with the dream to study the polar seas. To me, the ocean is a limitless horizon, unmarked by buildings. The more I learn about it, the more painful it becomes to stay silent, and the more I want to pursue knowledge on it. Studying oceanography has given me many precious insights, which I treasure and remind myself of whenever I feel discouraged. Photography and drawing have become a weapon against hopelessness, and a way to get people to care about something so mysterious and daunting (yet beautiful) as the ocean.

What does the ocean mean to me?

To our eyes, the ocean is limitless, a dark pit full of mysteries. It is hard to wrap our head around how vast it is, and how diverse its dwellers are. Studying the ocean has taught me patience - the seas are an enormous mechanism with an endless number of cogs.

5th Winner: Franziska Fiedler

About me and my connection to the ocean: My name is Franziska. Originally from the east of Germany, I currently live in Paris and like to spend my time dancing and teaching Lindy Hop and Vernacular Jazz, African-American art forms that were born in Harlem in the 1930s and 40s. I'm passionate about intersectional feminism and social justice, enjoy educating myself on these topics as well as other political and philosophical questions. To me, the ocean has always been a place of melancholia, longing and solitude especially in times of stress or worry. The perfect spot to be alone with your thoughts and feelings and to reflect on your life and the state of the world.

What does the ocean mean to me? The sea is for me a place of solitude, longing, remembering, serenity and change. A complex feeling that is best captured by the wonderful poem "Sometimes one of us stands near the sea" by Jean-Michel Maulpoix.

6th Winner: Alexandre Drapeau

About me and my connection to the ocean: I first met with the ocean when we lived in French Guyana. Since then I need to be near the coast and fifteen years later, I now live between the Atlantic coast of France and the Mediterranean Sea. The ocean is where I go to be peaceful, to empty my head, in front of its immensity, rocked by the rhythm of the waves, the ocean inspires me. Passionate by photography I spend a lot of time observing and capturing the ocean’s beauty and fragility. Every day it looks different and yet it is still just as fragile.

What does the ocean mean to me? The ocean is the origin and the end, everything we do end up one day or another in the ocean, all of our actions, big or small, have an impact. Respect the ocean, protect the ocean and it will give it back to us.

7th Winner: Giulia Pelonzi

About me and my connection to the ocean: I’ve always seen the ocean as a different world from the one we grew up in: peaceful, calm and full of life. Growing up, the love I felt for this distant world has done nothing but grow and guide me towards what I want to do for the rest of my life. By studying I began to know many nuances of this world that in the eyes of many are non-existent. The ocean is inhabited by many creatures, unfortunately, all extremely fragile in the face of the man and his selfishness. I study marine sciences at university, I want to become a diving guide in an attempt to show as many people as possible the fantastic world that we are killing slowly, in the hope of raising awareness and taking them towards a more ecological world.

What does the ocean mean to me? The video is an extract of the energy that the sea transmits to me.

8th Winner: Cristina Canella

About me and my connection to the ocean: Cristina, 24, Italy. I always admired and respected the immensity of the ocean. I was born to an Italian father and Portuguese mother. Since childhood, I was lucky to swim in the Mediterranean and jump the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I am now attending a Masters in Marine Sciences in order to be able to protect the ocean through a sustainable approach.

What does the ocean mean to me? Biodiversity to be preserved

9th Winner: Sian Katherine Davies

About me and my connection to the ocean: I am a Zoologist who is passionate about marine biology and wildlife photography (@siandaviesphotography). I enjoy beach walks, rock-pooling and exploring the underwater world when snorkelling and diving. My video was taken on an incredible trip to the Galapagos Islands during my undergraduate studies. Swimming with so many incredible marine animals was inspiring; it motivated me to pursue a career in conservation and to continue exploring and learning more about the ocean and its inhabitants.

What does the ocean mean to me? To me, the ocean means home, mystery and wonder. It is vulnerable, everchanging, chaotic and calm. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend the vastness of the ocean and forget how much is still to be explored. That is why the ocean also means a lifetime of discovery and learning!

10th Winner: Marleen Stuhr

About me and my connection to the ocean: In or at the water has always been my favourite place to be, especially the sea. Since my first diving experiences in the Indian Ocean, I wanted to make it my everyday life to study and protect the marine environment and our oceans. So I became a scientific diver and marine geo-ecologist. Currently, I am working in the northern Red Sea to find out how photosynthetic reef organisms like corals and large benthic foraminifers are acclimatizing to climate change. Such adaptive mechanisms are important to understand in order to support reef resilience in coral reef management, conservation and restoration.

What does the ocean mean to me? The ocean means everything to me, it makes me feel home, makes me curious, gives me energy and motivation.

Original news article by EC DG MARE including winning videos and photos

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