Empowering youth to take meaningful conservation action

Not only is our market research telling us that youth of today are the most socially conscious and environmentally aware generation, but also another recent study shows that “(not) since 1972 has generation played such a significant role in voter preferences as it has in recent elections”. This is great news for our efforts with zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to encourage a youth movement for ocean conservation. They are clearly passionate and do not shy away from taking personal action, whether politically or in their personal lives.Therefore, the question for us in our efforts to communicate for action is not “How can we make them care enough to act?” but “How do we empower them to take meaningful action for conservation?

The Ocean Project has been working with a couple of our ZAM partners – Seattle Aquarium and North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher – on precisely this issue and seeing promising headway. Seattle’s P.S. We Love You campaign has already seen significant success in motivating teen volunteers to take action and inspire their friends and families to action, while NC Fort Fisher’s Beach Reach utilizes social media to “bring beaches back to life, pier to pier and peer to peer”. We are about to start working more closely with WCS and the New York Aquarium and look forward to sharing our findings with you, hopefully soon.

Have a successful program that is youth-driven that you would care to share? Let us know (leave a comment below or email us) about your experiences so we can share with the ZAM community. Together, we can figure out how to best provide guidance and empower youth to be the next wave for ocean conservation.