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How a post-COVID Bondi embraced a festival dedicated to the ocean
The Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival reached new heights this year following the last few years of bad weather and COVID cancellations. The festival, which is the brainchild of ocean activist Anita Kolni featured a diverse program of science, arts, music and community engagement all focused tapping into the Australian love of an ocean lifestyle.
The goal of the five-day festival was to to inspire and engage the local Bondi community on ocean issues and provide hope by showcasing solutions and innovation that are improving the health of the ocean.
From free diving workshops and sunrise yoga, to intimate panel discussions on a range of topics including sustainable seafood to citizen science and the solutions to ocean plastic, the program of events was designed to create a variety of entry points for the community to engage with the topic of ocean conservation.
Take 3 for the Sea led a beach clean up, while Icebergs hosted a lap of the bay swim relay. There was a Minderoo caravan serving up sustainably sourced fish and chips and a market featuring sustainable and ocean friendly products, fashion and food.
This year’s festival launched with the inaugural Ocean Plastics Action Forum, an afternoon of passionate discussion from industry experts that began with the sobering statistics – there are currently 170 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the global ocean, and 92 per cent of that plastic ends up on our ocean shores. But there is hope. Federal MP for Wentworth Allegra Spender made the closing remarks which were that ‘ we need to touch people where the are, influence our legislators and focus on the next generation,’.
Book ending the festival was the Blue Solutions Summit – a look at the critical issues facing our oceans, along with the technologies and organisations that already exist helping solve the climate crisis through the lens of the ocean. Presenters included Professor Ove Hoegh-Gulberg, University of Queensland, speaking to Climate Change and Impact on our Ocean; Dr Sandor Mulsow, UN Scientist raising awareness of the deep seabed mining moratorium; Jason Peers from Marinas Guardian will discuss using innovative technology to protect our ocean and Stephen Oliver, Head of Documentary at ABC will highlight the importance of storytelling to drive action.
With plans to exhibit at COP29 in Dubai, and expand into Fremantle, WA in 2024, stay tuned for the continued evolution of our favourite community event, the Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival.
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