Nearly 7,000 citizens participated in Surfrider Europe’s public consultation “Voice for the Ocean” from June 2018 to Januray 2019, which polled communities on topics relating to ocean health, and gathered public opinion on necessary measures to adopt. The NGO would like to extend its warmest thanks to each citizen who took the time to speak their concerns on behalf of the ocean, and reinforce its commitment to placing ocean health at the heart of the upcoming political debate.
A GENERATION READY TO COMMIT
Citizens from approximately 60 countries around the world participated in the consultation, including 21 from the European Union, led by France, Portugal, Spain and Germany. Of all participants, 60% were women! 15% were between 18 and 24 years old, and more than a third were between 25 and 34 years of age. This generation of voters, who represent the future of the European Union, are expressing their readiness to commit themselves to ocean protection.
PRIORITY GIVEN TO THE FIGHT AGAINST PLASTIC
Of the eight topics that were posed in the consultation, three received special attention. The fight against microplastic pollution affecting the oceans was a priority concern according to participants. Seabed mining and the environmental damage caused by maritime transport were second and third.
The consultation provided an opportunity to generate effective policy proposals to tackle these issues that transcend national boundaries. Among these proposals, the ban on microplastics that are intentionally added to consumer products, a moratorium on the exploration/ exploitation of oil and gas, and the establishment of an eco-responsible transport label were raised in particular.
ELECTIONS NOW IN SIGHT
The expansive number of participants who contributed to the consultation reflects a growing concern by civil society about the ecological threats facing the ocean. The data collected in this democratic initiative offer benchmarks that will enable Surfrider Europe to focus its advocacy campaign on topics considered to be highly prioritized by citizens. Supported by data derived from the consultation results, the association will challenge EU candidates to take the demands of the public into consideration when drafting their political agendas for the upcoming elections this May.