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An Ocean of Change: Learning to Safeguard Our Seas

To mark World Oceans Day, we sit down with NGO Marevivo to talk about our seas – and how to protect them
Oceans Day , Mar Mediterraneo Italy
But the sea as we love it isn’t a given. Global warming is causing a drastic change to the world’s oceans, depleting them of oxygen and raising seawater temperatures across the world, which, in turn, creates hostile conditions to marine life. According to a study published earlier this year by American journal Science, between 10% and 15% of marine species are already at risk of extinction because of overfishing and pollution. And so, on World Oceans Day, we thought we’d turn the spotlight on who’s striving to protect and conserve our waters and beaches, to let them tell us why change is key to ensure we can keep enjoying them for days to come. Marevivo is a non-profit environmental association that’s been protecting the sea and its resources since 1985. Spanning educational programs, advocacy, and volunteering initiatives, it counts thousands of members across Italy, who work not just on raising awareness but also implementing actionable steps towards cleaner, safer, happier coastlines and waters – and show others how they can, too. If you’ve been following us, chances are you’ve already come across the NGO: since 2021, we’ve in fact been teaming up with Marevivo as part of our sustainability program Il Dolce Far Bene’ to organise beach clean ups around our three hotels. Last year, we also joined their “Adopt a Beach” project, getting the teams at each property involved with preserving three beaches near them: Marina di San Nicola in Palo Laziale, Chiaia Beach in Ischia and Acqua Dolce Beach in Porto Ercole. To dig deeper into the subject, we spoke with Raffaella Giugni, Institutional Relations Manager of Marevivo, and daughter of founder Rosalba Giugni.
Issimo & Pellicano Hotels collaboration with Mare Vivo at Mezzatorre Ischia Italy

Ciao Raffaella, thanks for talking with us. Let’s start with a key question: What’s the mission of Marevivo?

Raffaella Giugni: Thanks for the interest in what we do! In a nutshell, our main mission is to safeguard our seas and their ecosystems. Most people might not realise it, but the sea covers 70 percent of our planet’s surface, produces 50 percent of its oxygen, absorbs one third of CO2 emissions responsible for climate change, and represents percent of the world’s inhabited territory. Simply put, it plays a pretty major role in providing a support system to life as we know it. When the oceans are at risk or in poor health – and they certainly are right now – we are at risk too. Marevivo hopes to correct that, or at least be an integral part of the movement fighting for solutions.

How do you work towards those solutions?

RG: We look at the different issues affecting our seas and develop programs, awareness campaigns and projects to tackle them. When we first established Marevivo, 37 years ago, we were the first association in Italy, and maybe Europe, to get people involved in beach cleans – at the time, plastic and trash were the more obvious problems affecting our coastlines, so that’s where we invested our initial efforts.

 

Over the years, we’ve expanded our reach. We often collaborate with schools and companies and have been advocating for the introduction of specific laws to safeguard the sea. For the past four years, for instance, we have been working on the Legge Salvamare (literally, ‘Save the Sea’ law), a legislation passed in May that allows fishermen who accidentally retrieve plastic from the sea through their nets to bring it to land.

You mentioned Marevivo collaborates with companies. Is that how you’ve crossed paths with Pellicano Hotels Group?

RG: The Sciò family has been involved with Marevivo from the very beginning. They were some of the first to join our beach cleans and show their support. The “Adopt a Beach” partnership came about last year when we launched this project. We worked with the staff to clean three beaches around the three hotels and trained a few appointed employees on how to keep protecting and safeguarding the local coastline. Pellicano Hotels Group also gives guests the opportunity to make donations to Marevivo at the end of their stay, if they so wish, which has been a tremendous help.

Lastly, while there is still a lot of work to be done, how will you celebrate World Oceans Day?

RG: I’m glad you asked! Today, Marevivo is opening a photography exhibition titled ‘The Living Sea” at the Natural History Museum in Venice. It features stunning underwater images by Hussain Aga Khan, a marine photographer and fellow oceans advocate. If anyone needs any further convincing of why we should protect our seas, these photos will be it. Do visit if you’re in Venice – it runs until 11 September. 

 

For more on Marevivo’s work, visit marevivo.it

 

 

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