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Thoughts on International Youth Day by Toni Maceda, intern, PEMSEA

All Smiles by McLloyd Jumpay / PEMSEA

When we see the ocean, oftentimes we are met with feelings of peace and tranquility. The soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore and the gentle ocean breeze calm the mind and brings fond memories. With the sun on our face and salt in our hair, we enjoyed the ocean and what it could offer us. There was nothing that could compare to diving and discovering what lies beneath the waves, a world so colorful and full of life that it makes you feel like you’re on a different planet. When we leave the ocean, we bring with us the memories of a fun and relaxing day.
What we tend to forget while basking in the good that the ocean brings us is that our oceans are in trouble. Marine ecosystems are at their most vulnerable state, climate change is causing sea temperatures and sea levels to rise and as a result, there is potential food insecurity in the region. And who will feel the effects of this? Us, the youth. We take for granted that the ocean covers more than 70% of the world and that majority of life on Earth is aquatic. If we wish to preserve the marine biodiversity that brings us wonder whenever we dive beneath the waves, then we must act now. The future of our oceans depends on us.

As the youth of the East Asian Region, we are surrounded by bodies of water and each of us carries stories that come from soaking beneath the salty waves. We are valuable key players who carry with us the experiences of our parents and grandparents. We have the unique opportunity to use these experiences and improve them to make a change in helping our oceans.
On International Youth Day, we are reminded of our role in saving our oceans. We must empower each other and work together towards achieving sustainability throughout East Asia’s coasts and oceans. As the youth, we will not only benefit from sustainability but ensure it is carried on into the future. Youth involvement in sustainability initiatives is crucial for long-term implementation and success.
PEMSEA strongly believes in the need to involve the youth in the future of our shared seas. Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, RO Korea, PEMSEA has hosted a series of regional competitions to generate interest, awareness, and engagement.
Through the EAS Futures: Youth and the Oceans Photo and Video Competitions, PEMSEA aims to exhibit the local marine actions of youth, as well as highlight local issues or challenges. We aim to showcase the understanding the youth have of the oceans and highlight the creativity and firmness with which they can share their knowledge, understanding, plans, and dreams.

Let our voices be heard! Capture your thoughts on video and show how the youth can play a part in protecting our oceans.
More information about this competition, which runs until 1 September 2021, can be found at: https://www.pemsea.org/our-work/youth/eas-futures-video-competition.