Steve Savage took part in the annual Big Bang South East STEM Science event on 29th June at the Ardingly Show Grounds. The aim of the event is to promote careers in STEM subjects such as science, technology, engineering and maths. This year it was attended by over 8000 pupils and teachers.
This is the 5th year running that the exhibit, One Ocean One Planet has been involved. It connects Shoreham Beach with the global ocean and its benefits, and shows how Shoreham Beach might be impacted by global issues such as climate change and plastic debris. 50% of the oxygen be breathe is produced by phytoplankton in the ocean, freshwater comes from the ocean, 15% of our food globally comes from the ocean, as do new medicines and much more.
The exhibit has been created around a globally travelling ‘Ed the Bear’ who (since 2009) has visited real scientists and other experts , who host him on his travels, sharing their knowledge and expertise which is then relayed to schools and the public through events such as this.
During his recent travels he has gathered a lot of information about how humans impact the ocean. Greenhouse gases produced by us humans are changing our climate. A 1 °C rise in sea temperature potentially can produce more moisture in the air which is likely to trigger more storms. These can create waves which can then add to erosion of our coastline. Increased water temperatures can cause expansion and melting of polar ice during summer months. This has the potential to cause a rise of 50% of sea level in certain areas of the world. Warm water is also changing distribution of some species, impacting on food chains (including the UK) and also damaging habitats such as coral reefs.
Litter in the oceans also has an impact as micro plastics are entering food chains as low down as plankton. The exhibit also focused on how people are helping to protect the ocean, from beach cleans to restoring habitats – last year Ed the Bear worked with a group called Youths Dive with Purpose helping to repair the damage on coral reefs in Florida.
Through the exhibit’s activities, children learned about
-undertook experiments showing how water expands when it’s warmed
-examined experiments explaining ocean acidification also created by man-made carbon dioxide pollution
This year as part of the FoSB Marine Education Programme , there were also some live sea creatures demonstrated through the digital microscope cam and shown on a flat screen. (for more details of the FoSB MEP, please visit the page on the website)
The go home message for the schools was how much we rely on the ocean every day and that their generation (and future generations) will need to come up with ingenious solutions to reducing human impact and helping to restore the damage to our planet. In the future there will be many more career opportunities linked to the oceans.
The day was a great success and meeting so many fascinated and deeply interested young people gives hope for the future of our planet. A big thanks to all who came to visit from Steve, Chris and Ed the Bear
You can find out more about this project by clicking on the following links http://seawatch17.wix.com/one-world-one-ocean