WSI Mary Kay Global Oceans Conservation Challenge, SDG 14WSI

Design a solution to further the conservation and/or protection of the world’s marine ecosystems and coastal communities.

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Did you know, according to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) - a global leader in protecting and restoring marine habitats – oceans provide 80% of the oxygen we breathe and provide food and income for more than 3 billion people? In recent decades, TNC reports, “we have lost significant areas of vital marine habitats: one-third (1/3) of the world’s mangroves, one-half (1/2) of our coral reefs and more than 85% of shellfish reefs. Coral reefs occupy 1% of the ocean yet support 25% of all marine life and provide a source of food, livelihood, coastal protection, and cultural heritage for more than 500 million people worldwide.”

With all that dependency, humans are putting a strain on one of our most precious resources like never before. Without immediate intervention, conservation and protection for the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources, our current and future generations’ well-being is at stake.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Oceans, seas and marine resources are increasingly threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities, reducing their ability to provide crucial ecosystem services.” Humans disproportionately contribute to climate change, marine pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and destruction of marine and coastal habitats, just to name a few contributing factors to the degradation of our global marine life and resources. Ironically, this marine life deprivation is jeopardizing human’s well-being worldwide.

To protect our world’s oceans now and in the future, drastic action is needed urgently. This is accomplished through protective governance, more sustainable and responsible practices among human land- and marine-based activities and taking proper measures immediately to reduce the negative anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment. For example, changes in production and consumption patterns and improved management and control of human activities.

Your challenge is to consider innovative products or services you can leverage to support, conserve, and protect marine environments and the coastal communities that depend on them.

Solutions meeting this challenge involve a wide range of topics such as:

  • Working with local coastal communities and governments to address climate risks and expedite adaptation to rapidly changing conditions;
  • Developing an app to help mobilize local conservation efforts;
  • Working with local policymakers to do more to protect local bodies of water;
  • Reducing waste production which often ends up in the ocean;
  • Educating yourself and others about the effects of climate change on our oceans;
  • Designing a product that helps monitor, reduce, or combat marine pollution;
  • Contributing to the development of waste management technologies that minimize the use of clean water.

Not sure how to dig in? Take a closer look at how these agents of change are protecting global oceans:

  • SEE Shell App aids to reduce the demand for tortoiseshells and end the tortoiseshell trade by identifying products made from turtle shells with a snap of a picture.
  • The OpenOceans Plastic Map can mark the location of a plastic-fouled beach, upload an image and provide additional information about that section of coastline to report on plastic debris in oceans.
  • Tech company Apple's partnership with Applied Environmental Research Foundation distributes portable bio-stoves as an alternative to cutting down mangroves that offer important protection to coastal communities of Maharashtra, India.

Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her dream beauty company in 1963 with one goal: enriching women’s lives. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. As an entrepreneurship development company, Mary Kay is committed to empowering women on their journey through education, mentorship, advocacy, networking, and innovation. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skincare, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay believes in enriching lives today for a sustainable tomorrow, partnering with organizations from around the world focusing on promoting business excellence, supporting cancer research, advancing gender equality, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Learn more at, find us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter.

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"All life on Earth began in and depends on our oceans. Water is the most valuable resource on our planet, and it’s essential that we not only respect it, but do our part to protect it. The next generation of global thinkers and leaders are already addressing these critical areas of concern and spearheading conservation efforts. We are excited to see how the world’s youth can help to advance ecosystems and biodiversity conservation globally."

Deborah Gibbins / Chief Operating Officer, Mary Kay

I want to protect global oceans now!

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