World Ocean Day 2023

World Ocean Day 2023


The OCEAN affects us all, whether we are ocean babies or not.  With 70% of the planet covered by sea, it has major importance to life on earth. We rely on the ocean from the food we eat, the water we drink, and even for the air we breathe. According to the National Geographic, 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. The ocean provides us with so much life, so you can understand why it is so precious and why it is essential to look after it.


In the past 10 years the damage that we have done to the ocean has become very apparent. For many years, people had thought that the ocean was a place of unlimited resources, and was immune to change or decline. However, scientific studies have come to show the extent of the damage our negative practices have already had and it’s quite overwhelming. In just 2015 it was discovered that in the last 40 years, half of all marine life has been lost- an absolutely devastating fact to uncover! 

In the same 2015 The Living Blue Planet report by World Wide Fund for Nature, it also stated that “more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tonnes are in the sea.


50 per cent of the plastic we use is thrown away after a single use. Why is plastic so harmful to the ocean. It is thought to NEVER EVER break down completely.  Sun exposure and the grinding of the waves will break it down into smaller pieces but these microplastics are then ingested by fish and ultimately humans and pollute shorelines. Not a desirable outcome.

world ocean day

The fashion industry has contributed its fair share of pollution to the ocean. From micro plastics, to irresponsible fabric dying techniques, to releasing toxic chemicals into waterways. As an ocean-lover and designer, ocean pollution is not something we take lightly and most definitely something we want to minimise our contribution. All this information has been taken into consideration when making decisions at, Gemma Lee, from choosing the fabric, to the processes used to create the finished product.


We can’t take back all our plastic waste, but what we can do is to recycle this waste into something new. This is an exciting innovation in the textile and fashion industry. You’ve probably come across more and more textiles and clothing brands that now create their textile fibres from recycled waste such as PET bottles and fishing nets. These are definitely the brands to look out for as a conscious shopper.


With billions of PET bottles, the primary material used in water bottles, discarded every year, our brand was able to use one of the biggest waste problems to create our textile for our swimwear. How they do this, they carefully craft the bottles down into fine yarns, which can then be woven just like cotton into a textile. What excited us the most about this material is how soft, and durable it is and at no compromise to functionality and quality of the end product.

world ocean day

Another conscious choice we had to make was on the neoprene, a large component of a wetsuit. This originally challenged us as we read more and more how bad standard petroleum based wetsuits were for the environment, especially in their manufacturing. But it is the times when you are challenged that you dig a little deeper, and find that hidden gem. We came across many alternatives to petroleum based neoprene, from limestone based to plant based neoprene. After much research we decided to go with the limestone base, as it was important to us that the more eco-conscious neoprene we chose was not at the compromise of functionality or durability. We wanted a product that would last and not end up after a season in a landfill. Although limestone is not a renewable source, it has thousands of years of supply left, and within a couple of years we truly believe that innovations in the textile industry will have us swapping to an even more sustainable neoprene source. Sometimes it’s about doing your best in the here and now.



The ocean has given us so much, from the air we breathe to the pure joy it brings, it’s time we stop taking from the ocean and looking after it so carelessly. The ocean covers 70% of the world, it is the one thing that draws all walks of life together, it is the world's most shared resource. As designers we can take a stand by making conscious choices about the products we create, and encourage and educate those around us. As a consumer, it is important for you to ask questions and challenge brands on their environmental impact. 


So what can you do to celebrate World Ocean Day?


  1. Take time to connect to the ocean

Take time out of your busy day to simply connect to the moana. Whether it's a walk with your family or a mid-winter swim, reconnecting with the ocean is a great reminder of how special it is and can inspire you to make small changes in your everyday life that will minimise your impact on the ocean. Here are some fun events you can get involved in to celebrate:


  1. Take Action

Commit to using less water to reduce runoff 

To save water in the shower, aim to get your shower time down to 4 minutes or less. Use a shower timer or your favourite 4-minute song to time your showers.


Make a submission

The next logical step in protecting our precious and vulnerable marine environment from exploitation by multinational mining companies is to ban seabed mining in Aotearoa's waters. It's super easy to make a submission via this link

  1. Use your purchasing power wisely

When you need to buy something, support brands with initiatives that protect ocean habitats, expand marine protected areas and empower ocean conservation programmes. 

Here are some of our favourites: 

@Caliwoods donates 1% revenue to Sea Shepherd

@Octacle takes part in innovative research on seaweed exploring how it can help to regenerate and protect marine habitat

@Solidoralcare have saved 30,000+ plastic toothpaste tubes from landfill

@Seasicksunscreenco has been donating 2% revenue to ocean conservation since day one of business (@mountainstosea and @loverimurimu)


Remember, every small action counts when it comes to protecting our oceans xx 

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