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SDG 14: Life Below Water


SDG 14: Life Below Water

To conserve and sustainably use the world's oceans, seas and marine resources


  • Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97% of the Earth’s water, and represent 99% of the living space on the planet by volume.

  • Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source.

  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

  • As much as 40% of world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.

  • Oceans contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.

  • Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.

  • The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of the world's water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics and chemicals.

  • #SourceSustainableSeafood - Sustainable fishing means leaving enough fish in the ocean, respecting habitats and ensuring people who depend on fishing can maintain their livelihoods. As consumers, we can choose seafood from well-managed, sustainable fisheries. To do so, we should educate ourselves about where our fish comes from and how it is caught. Resources such as the Seafood Decision Guide can help us make the best choices for our oceans’ future. Websites: 1) A guide to sustainable Seafood: 2) 13 Ways to make Sustainable Seafood Choices:*

  • Play the Overfishing game with your friends to understand challenges connected to sustainable fishing. You can find instruction to the game on page 112 of this publication.

  • Do you live close to the sea or the ocean? Organize a beach cleaning day, call your friends, share results in social media.

  • Think twice before buying new clothes – a lot of water is used and contaminated through the fashion industry. If you really need some clothes, try to exchange or buy in second hand shops first.

More inspiration:

  • To read

The story of Mantanani island in Malaysia, a paradise suffering from ocean pollution.

For stories about responsible fashion, check SGD 12.

  • To watch

1. Introduction to SDG 14.

2. Short video about overfishing.

3. Documentary about the world's most polluted river and one of its main polluters – the fashion industry.

For more info about other SDGs, have a look here.

* These information and calls to action come from the fantastic Development Perspectives material about SDGs. Have a look here to discover more.

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