Ocean and climate literacy in nautical high schools

04.07.2024

130 Greek Nautical High School students participated in a series of seminars and workshops on ocean and climate awareness and the blue economy as part of the “Nauticinblu” Project, enhancing their understanding of the complex relationship between economic growth, biodiversity impacts, and the needed transition to more sustainable operations.

Nauticinblu involves Nautical Institutes in Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain and is run by the Italian non-profit environmental organization Marevivo, with the support of the MSC Foundation of the MSC Group. In Greece, it is implemented by the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), showcasing the strength of this partnership in driving environmental education and sustainability in the maritime sector.

Specifically in Greece, 100 students from the 1st Vocational School of Keratsini, Athens and 30 students from Tsakos Enhanced Education Nautical School (TEENS) in Chios took part in engaging indoor and outdoor activities that covered some of the most important subjects related to the sea, with expert lecturers, experiential workshops and beach cleanups.

At the 1st Vocational High School of Keratsini Attica, the students participated in a comprehensive five-day program, including project introduction, discussions on marine pollution and employment opportunities in blue economy, a beach cleanup at Neraki, Nea Peramos, a marine litter monitoring exercise, a mentoring session with a maritime expert, and a visit to member – company, Hellenic Environmental Center (HEC), for an in-depth look at waste management. The program concluded with a design thinking exercise focused on transforming waste into useful materials, emphasizing circular economy principles.

Accordingly, HELMEPA visited the award-winning Tsakos Enhanced Education Nautical School in Chios, the first non-profit model Nautical Lyceum, where students engaged in a series of activities over five days. The program began with an introduction to the project, followed by discussions on ocean literacy and marine pollution. Students participated in a beach cleanup at Karfas beach, recorded litter in real-time, and attended mentoring sessions on careers in shipping and ocean sciences. Unique to this program, students conducted a survey on local perceptions of climate change in collaboration with the innovative grassroots initiative “Chios Climate Chance,” part of HELMEPA’s ongoing program on the island. As a closing event, students created a collective artwork inspired by the ONLY ONE exhibition, which was hosted at the school, to enhance ocean awareness. This artwork is now displayed on the school’s premises.

TESTIMONIALS

Nauticinblu aligns seamlessly with HELMEPA’s mission, fostering an understanding of the ocean’s vital role by empowering Nautical Institute students and teachers. This collaboration presents a valuable opportunity to have an impact and inspire future marine professionals, providing a transformative learning experience that motivates and engages.

Semiramis Paliou, HELMEPA and INTERMEPA Chairperson

The students and teachers who participated in the program were excited and gained valuable knowledge, particularly appreciating the combination of indoor and outdoor activities. The tutors and teachers specifically highlighted the program’s innovative approach and the importance of introducing and strengthening environmental education in naval high schools. We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in this training program and hope to continue these activities in the future.

Ioannis Kokkas, TEENS Director

We were delighted to receive the posters from the ONLY ONE Exhibition and held a specialized session for the students. The exhibition helped students familiarize themselves with English terminology related to the challenges associated with the marine environment, as well as the concepts of circular economy and ecological transition. It inspired students to explore bibliographic sources at a global level, enabling them to gain a more comprehensive understanding of these issues beyond Greece.

Loukia Vasilaki, TEENS English Teacher

For me, the sea represents calm, peace, and freedom. The program helped me gain a deeper understanding of the ocean, climate change, and the maritime professions, particularly in shipping. For women, choosing a maritime education and career path presents a big challenge, as shipping remains a male-dominated field. However, through this program, girls are empowered to pursue their dreams!

Eftychia Strigou, Student of 1st Vocational School of Keratsini

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