Carlo Steensma is a Changemaker, World Merit Employee and Social Entrepreneur based in the UK. For the SIMA SDG Challenge, Carlo chose to screen the film VOICES FROM THE SEA which tells the story about the battle of a remote society to save the sea, and how their efforts can become an example of courage for the planet. Through the film, he encouraged the audience to connect with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Number 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Why did you choose the SIMA Academy film VOICES FROM THE SEA?
I find it very inspiring how a small group of people are able to make a massive impact on an issue that is sometimes not visible, such as the effect of overfishing and plastic pollution in the oceans. Only 8,000 people are living on the Rapa Nui island, and they managed to get a marine reserve that is bigger than the size of France. Imagine the potential, if all the people of where you live are gathering their strengths, what they can accomplish. I think that with the recent media attention through high profile figures such as Sir David Attenborough (with the incredible ‘Our Planet’ documentary series) and Leonardo DiCaprio (i.e. the trend of the Beyond Meat burger), now is the perfect time to capitalize on the press attention and send out informed and story-based information about ocean damage.
Who were your guest panelists for the discussion/ Q&A?
Staff members from World Merit HQ, based in Liverpool City Centre, hosted a presentation ourselves about how six SDGs are interconnected and directly linked to healthy oceans. We opened up the discussion about what we perceived to be the biggest threat as a means to inspire change using the approach of a 22-day challenge.
How did the screening meet your objectives for the overall event?
It met the objective of raising awareness about the size of the biggest threat to our planet and to increase the awareness of World Merit locally in Liverpool by starting new partnerships with local venues where we held these screenings and for future events. The first was Little World (Zero Waste) The ethos and purpose behind the Little World project is to discover the viability of an eco business model. They are passionate about the planet, people and good nutritious, sustainable food and they believe we can thrive if we take care of all three. Little World Cafe is working towards truly zero waste, this includes food waste which will go into our future worm composting facilities. The second was Veggie Republic, a vegan restaurant whose mission is to show vegetarians and meat eaters that anything can be veganised and yet tastes amazing. By establishing these partnerships, we met our overall objectives for the screening.
Can you tell us if and how this event changed the audience’s awareness of the subject matter?
It helped that we held the screenings in venues where people would already have a passion for sustainable oceans. Nevertheless, the screening undoubtedly opened up the knowledge base with regards to the impact of the animal industries on our oceans, forests, climate, food production systems and responsible consumption. In terms of promoting veganism and zero waste, the audiences were very engaged in coming up with ideas on concrete actions to take together, including ‘rolling out’ these screenings and we have had people express interest to host screenings on a regular basis, at schools and other less conventional venues to increase the impact.