Save the Med
Changemakers at sea
Jasmine Spavieri looks at the inspirational work of Save the Med, and invites teachers and students from all over the world to join them for a week on board the 100 year old ketch, Toftevaag on one of their 2020 missions.
What it’s about
Save the Med is a non-profit organization focused on regenerating marine life in the Mediterranean Sea. Besides carrying out marine research, we work closely with communities, schools and governments to promote real solutions. Education is a large part of what we do, and something we value highly as a step towards the successful protection of our oceans.
Taking a stand
Today more than ever, young people around the globe are sitting up and taking notice of the world around them. Their planet is in danger and they are rising to the challenge – showing a passion and commitment that goes beyond the classroom. Even for adults, topics like climate change can be daunting and make us feel powerless. Taking a stand against an issue like plastic pollution – a global crisis of disastrous proportions – can feel overwhelming. We aim to inspire the opposite mindset.
Changemakers at Sea
Every year, one of our expeditions is reserved for the winners of our “Changemakers At Sea” competition – now running for its third year in a row. This programme engages schools in a wave of positive environmental action. Students aged 15 to 18, from schools all over Mallorca, form teams to develop a project. The objective: reduce the use of single-use plastic in their communities.
2019 school project leads to a week at sea
One team this year involved their entire school, talking directly with the school’s board and their peers about the unnecessary consumption of single-use plastics in the cafeteria and convincing them to switch from disposable bottles and cups to reusable ones – reducing the school’s plastic consumption by over 15,000 bottles per year. Their project earned them a week on-board the Toftevaaag – our 100 year-old sailing ketch transformed into a scientific vessel.
The Changemakers project helps young people to address their concerns for the planet and channel their energy into positive action.
Even a small group of students can have a big impact. We can all make a change, no matter our age. Instead of feeling demoralized we feel empowered, motivated and energized by the possibilities we have to make a difference.
The Toftevaag sailing vessel is a perfect platform on which to enact that change, and for students, teachers and citizens to experience the front line of marine conservation with their own eyes is an incredible opportunity. On board the ship, students are 100% involved in life on-board, working side by side with marine biologists, collecting data, scrubbing the decks and cooking with the crew. By the end of the week our “citizen” crew has learnt to distinguish between different species of dolphin and seabirds, learnt about the richness and importance of Mediterranean biodiversity and seen first-hand the impact plastic pollution has on marine wildlife in the open ocean. This wonderful ship bridges the gap between science, citizens and nature. One week on-board this expedition vessel can have a life-changing impact.
Conserving Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
Data collected by the crew on-board contributes directly towards the continued management and protection of MPAs – one such area being Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park, which in February 2019 has been expanded by over 10,000 hectares, making it Spain’s largest and only terrestrial and maritime national park.
Connect with us and join in!
Besides protecting the oceans, our expeditions aim to champion the spirit of collaboration, openness and teamwork. And in that spirit, we invite all citizens, young and old, to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the Internet, and sail out into the blue Mediterranean with us and be part of our crew. Although our Changemakers project only runs for schools based in Mallorca, students and teachers from all over the world can still join our expeditions independently. Taking part can potentially change the fortunes of one precious, but threatened corner of the world environment. It certainly changes people.
Life changing experience
According to Maria José Guasp, a teacher, at Bellver International College, Mallorca,
“The experience with Save the Med was life changing. For a week, you instantly become part of a team – and you are the link of a chain that works through respect, gratitude and coordination. The shared objective is to investigate our seas. The study of microplastics, birds, dolphins, human activities, the tagging and tracking of turtles, allow you to realize the value of researchers who go in search of data in order to identify the real needs of the marine ecosystem, including people”
But it’s not just a matter of becoming aware of an amazing eco-system – it’s about what you learn about yourself.
“On the boat” Maria José continues “one learns to live with oneself and with everyone else. You learn values that dissipate in modern society. The learning experience is much deeper than you can imagine.”
Chemist and Adaptation Biologist. Jasmine Spavieri spent her early career working for the Museum of Science in Boston and London’s Science Museum. After fieldwork in the Caribbean and North Atlantic Gyre, she co-founded The Sea Musketeers, an educational outreach project aimed at raising awareness of global ocean issues. In 2017, she joined Alnitak a Marine conservation based in the Mediterranean. When Alnitak and Save The Med merged in 2019, she joined the STM-team, as part of their education and outreach programme.
For more information contact Jasmine at email@example.com
If you would like to join the an expedition on Toftevaag you can find out more about the 2020 Save The Med expedition programmes open to “Citizen Volunteers” here:
You can also book on line.