At IE University, we’re committed to building a better and more sustainable world for tomorrow’s generations. Looking after our planet is important to us, as is increasing public understanding of today’s biggest environmental threats. That's why we partnered with Fundación Ecomar for World Oceans Day.
Fundación Ecomar works on raising awareness of environmental issues by inviting schools and institutions to join their activities and help spread their message. With a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), Fundación Ecomar organizes around 50 coastal clean-ups like this one every year to spread awareness among younger generations and prevent water pollution. Many IE University students participated in the Oceans Day initiative as part of their personal commitment to environmental sustainability.
Cristina Velasco, a third-year Dual Degree in Business Administration and International Relations student, shared what she gained from her experience volunteering with Fundación Ecomar.
World Oceans Day is a celebration of our oceans, when environmental groups around the world organize coastal clean-ups and educational campaigns. Cristina was motivated to participate in this initiative with IE University because she recognises how lucky we are to have the useful and abundant resources that the ocean provides, and she appreciates “the connection we, as humans, have with the ocean.” This day helps create awareness of how dependent we are upon the oceans and how important it is to take care of them.
During her participation in the day’s activities, Cristina was able to see first-hand how we can be part of the solution to prevent water pollution and the destruction of our planet. She described the experience as enriching, educational and well-organized.
The day started with a presentation in which the team from Fundación Ecomar explained the main aims of the foundation and the importance of their work. They gave concrete examples that helped the attendees realize that the impact of ocean clean-ups should not be underestimated. At the end of the day’s clean-up, the group weighed all the trash they had collected. Cristina remarked that it was very powerful to see their impact in numbers in such a short amount of time.
As part of the initiative, Fundación Ecomar facilitated a recycling workshop, which many students said will help them be more sustainable in their day-to-day lives. IE University students also really enjoyed spending a day outside doing something important with friends and getting to know new people.
Although already an avid environmentalist, Cristina learned a lot from the experience, including the importance of looking after our oceans. “Water isn’t just the oceans and seas we swim in during the summer; it is key to our survival as it provides us with oxygen, food and many other essential things.” It is crucial that we do something to combat water pollution now, since our water resources are limited and only we have the power to stop them from running out.
When asked about her takeaways from this experience, Cristina highlighted that the key to sustainability isn’t just doing one thing on one day, but also spreading awareness and sharing ideas to encourage other people to be more sustainable in their daily lives. Additionally, she discovered the rewarding nature of volunteering: “It’s something that can enrich your soul and help the people around you.”
To future students at IE University, Cristina recommends getting involved in as many activities as they can and being open-minded to what other people have to say about global and local issues. “Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. There will always be someone to teach you,” she advises. Her final message is to take action every day, no matter how small it may seem.