Tides of Change: Blue Water EduFest 2023 Recedes, Leaving a Ripple of Inspiration

The Blue Water EduFest culminated its 3-day marine and coastal conservation event this past weekend with a strong push towards environmental preservation through collaboration, innovation and scalable solutions.  

ONE°15 aims to celebrate and empower aspiring youths with $250,000 in conservation funding set aside for local universities to further research and education in marine conservation. 

Singapore, 15 November 2023 –  Blue Water EduFest, 2023, a non-profit marine conservation event organised by ONE°15, concluded on November 4 after three days of dedicated efforts and meaningful discussions aimed at fostering marine conservation awareness and empowering the next generation of ocean stewards. The event, held at the ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, saw numerous thought leaders, sustainability decision-makers, and passionate advocates come together to address critical issues related to marine conservation. 

Through a dynamic programme comprising an educational solutions-based conference, the prestigious Blue Water Heroes Awards and a meaningful marina and beach clean-up, Blue Water EduFest is a call to action to unite collaborators and stakeholders to drive positive change. 

“The event has grown in depth since its inception last year, with a chorus of positive feedback highlighting its substantial impact. The increased presence of influential decision-makers at Blue Water EduFest 2023 signifies our potential to drive real change. Let’s seize this opportunity not only to push for tangible action but also to sow the seeds of change in the hearts and minds of those new to the cause of marine conservation.” shared Arthur Tay, Chairman and CEO of SUTL Group. 

Blue Water Heroes Awards 

The Blue Water Heroes Awards, one of the highlights of the event, celebrated and recognised individuals who have made substantial contributions to marine conservation. Ten finalists were honoured for their fearless efforts in driving positive change, and among the ten, Tom Peacock, founder of the Seven Clean Seas came in first place, with Oh Chu Xian, the founder of Magorium, coming in second place and Anna Oposa, Executive Director and Chief Mermaid, Save Philippine Seas coming in third place.  

“We in the impact space, the minority, cannot possibly hope to fix some of the world’s greatest issues on our own. Without support, guidance, help and investment from traditional industries and governments alike, we will not succeed. If we continue to chase positive environmental impact on our own, then the impact will be limited. But if we do it together, then real sale and real impact can and will be realised,” shared Tom Peacock-Nazil, the first prize winner of the Blue Water Heroes. 

The Blue Water Heroes Awards served as a reminder that the responsibility for ocean conservation belongs to us all. The event illustrated how individuals, through passion, dedication, and innovation, can make a profound difference in the world and inspire others to take action. 

More information about all the finalists of the Blue Water Heroes can be found HERE 

Michael Aw from Ocean Geographic, also shared his experience and thoughts on the Antarctic Climate Expedition the team had taken earlier in the year, offering a poignant showcase of their transformative journey. Their firsthand encounters with shocking ice melts present a stark and immediate reality of climate change. This showcase served as a compelling reminder of the urgent need for collective action to address climate change, highlighting how the effects felt in the far reaches of Antarctica have a direct bearing on our lives in Singapore and beyond. 

The Ocean Collective Summit 

The two-day solutions-based conference, The Ocean Collective Summit (TOCS), was attended by stewards in the marine conservation community with key speakers, including Fabien Cousteau, Founder of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre and Proteus Ocean Group; Jeremy McKane, CEO of; Rena Lee, Ambassador for International Law; Zoe Ong, Senior Assistant Director, Coastal Protection Department, PUB, The National Water Agency Singapore and many more.  

As part of Blue Water EduFest, TOCS featured a series of engaging speeches and panel discussions focused on marine conservation. On Day 1, attendees were treated to insights from oceanographic luminary Fabien Cousteau, who emphasised the pivotal role of human engagement in ocean exploration. The day also witnessed discussions on “Blue Carbon,” the Seabed 2030 Project, the High Sea Treaty’s implications, climate change adaptation in coastal areas, and innovative coastal protection strategies. In addition, inspirational young changemakers were spotlighted, demonstrating the power of individual and community-driven initiatives in addressing marine conservation. Day 2 continued the momentum with discussions on ocean innovation and finance, the implications of the Global Plastic Treaty, and innovative approaches to tackling plastic pollution in Asia. A prominent theme was the importance of sustainable practices, recycling, and the role of the yachting industry in marine conservation.  

“Once again The Ocean Collective Summit brought together a diverse global community dedicated to fostering a shift in mindset and providing a vital platform for sharing knowledge on critical ocean conservation and sustainability. With a strong focus on educating younger generations, it sets the stage for a brighter and more sustainable future for our ocean,” shared Fabien Cousteau. 

“We believe that through education, in its many forms, we can create a better awareness of the threats to our oceans and drive meaningful change in our interaction with the oceans.  The Ocean Collective Summit is at the top of that education agenda and the sharing of knowledge via different perspectives and solutions places an emphasis on the power of collaboration and action. Regardless of the scale of our contributions, we each can make an impact,” added Julian Chang, President, The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia 

ONE15 Clean Up 

The three-day event culminated in a meaningful beach and marina clean-up, where 200 land and diver volunteers, from conference attendees to local community members, joined hands to clean above and below water at Siloso Beach, Sentosa and ONE15 Marina Sentosa Cove respectively. For the first time, we witnessed a collaboration between humans and robots from Serial Cleaners for this cleanup effort. 176 items were collected that weighed a whopping 385kg including 77kg of rubbish from the beach!  Some of the items salvaged included giant pipes, cones and an anchor. This act symbolised a collective commitment to protecting our oceans and coastlines. Beyond the beach clean-up, a broader discussion ensued about individual roles in preserving our oceans, highlighting various ways we can contribute to marine conservation beyond this event. 

Marine Conservation Funding 

As a significant step to drive marine conservation, ONE°15 announced that it has set aside $250,000 in conservation funding to support a range of initiatives with local universities, including Singapore Management University (SMU).  These initiatives encompass a marine sustainability scholarship programme for low-income students spanning three years, a five-year conservation project to develop coral and marine biodiversity at ONE°15 Marina Nirup Island, the newly launched marina on a private island off Batam, Indonesia, as well as seed funding for early career researchers in marine science over three years.  

In addition, ONE°15 also pledged to support ‘The Young Sustainability Champion Programme,’ a nationwide youth design challenge in partnership with the Science Centre Singapore. This initiative will involve mentoring selected secondary school students as they work on solutions to address marine-related challenges. 

The Way Forward  

Blue Water EduFest 2023 also sought to outline resolutions and next steps for marine conservation. The event’s discussions and collaborative efforts set the stage for a united urgent front in the ongoing battle to protect our oceans. Participants expressed their commitment to fostering innovation, collaboration, and scalable solutions, with the shared understanding that urgent action on marine conservation is a lifeline. 

Blue Water EduFest 2023 concluded on a note of hope, action, and unity. The event illuminated the urgent need to take actionable solutions to protect our oceans. As aptly shared by Arthur Tay, CEO & Executive Director of SUTL Enterprise, “In closing, I recognise that I can’t undertake this mission alone. If we adopt the mindset of ‘leaving it to others,’ we can never ignite the spark of change. So, consider this a passionate call to rally more individuals and organisations to this cause!”  

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