Okeanos Foundation for the Sea has established sustainable sea transportation in the Pacific since 2010 to supply local island communities while lowering dependencies from fossil fuel imports
About Okeanos Foundation
. In Germany and Europe, we support youth and young adults who want to creatively contribute their ideas and skills to a broad social transformation towards a sustainable lifestyle. Marine conservation is particularly close to our hearts and at the same time we know that many paths lead to the sea. That is why we support existing projects in environmental protection and societal transformation and invite young people to participate in co-creative processes through our own initiatives.
Milestones in the Foundation’s history:
Tailwind for youth engagement
Okeanos youth initiative ‘waves of action’ sets sail in the Mediterranean and invites committed young people to develop creative project ideas for environmental protection and social engagement on our Vaka Okeanos off the French Mediterranean coast. The participants are then accompanied and supported in their work by us and our cooperation partners and experts. The teaching of resilience strategies and self-care in engagement is central to our foundations commitment.
More on the German webpage: wavesofaction.eu
A strong message for Pacific Islanders
The United Nations’ first ever Ocean Conference, held in New York between June 5-9th 2017, rightfully created a platform for communities most impacted by the dramatic changes facing our ocean: Pacific Islanders. With the urgent mission to support the implementation of UN Sustainable Goal 14 (to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development), Okeanos Foundation for the Sea represented its goal of bringing traditional and sustainable sea transportation to Pacific people on the front lines of climate change.
The New Generation: Okeanos Vaka Motus
Through multiple discussions, Okeanos and local communities in the Pacific developed concepts for the best possible use of traditional Vakas equipped with the latest technology for the daily needs of remote island communities. This led to the decision to develop a slightly smaller, single-masted boat that could provide essential goods and services largely independent of fossil fuel imports. The idea of the Vaka Motu was born! Our support of sustainable sea transportation in the Pacific has galvanized partnerships between Okeanos and island governments to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The diversified use of the Okeanos Vaka Motu can meet up to thirteen UNFCCC Sustainable Development Goals.
2011 – 2012
Pacific Voyage – Te Mana O Te Moana
Okeanos laid the foundation for this legendary voyage in 2010 by designing and building a fleet of seven Polynesian catamarans based on traditional models. In collaboration with voyaging societies in the Pacific, Okeanos arranged for the replica of the extremely seaworthy boats that made the settlement of the Pacific possible thousands of years ago. The ‘Okeanos Vaka Moanas’ were crewed by a pan-Pacific, specially trained crew of hundreds of sailors and navigators who embarked on a two-year Pacific voyage in 2011 – from Aotearoa to Hawai’i to the west coast of the USA, and in a second leg via the Cocos Islands, Galapagos, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu to the Solomon Islands. The participants conveyed a strong message wherever they went: healthy marine ecosystems are the basic prerequisite for the continuation of human civilisation!
Production of the film “Racing Extinction”
Deeply troubled by the global threat to biodiversity, in 2009 Okeanos began producing the feature documentary Racing Extinction, directed by Academy Award winner Louis Psihoyos. Filmed across the globe over 5 years, Racing Extinction draws attention to mankind’s role in a potential loss of at least half of the world’s species. On December 2nd 2015, Racing Extinction was broadcasted simultaneously in 220 countries by the Discovery Channel in recognition of the United Nations’ Paris Climate Conference. In 2021, Emmy-nominated film ‘Racing Extinction’ was even awarded ‘Best Green Film of the Decade’ by the ‘Green Film Network’, the most important network of environmental films in the world.
‘Noisebusters’ – action against noise pollution
The largest threat to marine animals and especially marine mammals is increasing noise pollution from navy, oil industry activities and increasing marine commercial traffic. Dieter Paulmann and his team founded the project ‘noisebusters’ with scientists, lawyers, fimmakers and activists tracking down harmful noise, measuring it and acting to prevent the noise from being produced
Since then, Okeanos has been supporting symposia on ocean noise, climate change, and the role of phytoplankton while collaborating with globally recognized science communicators such as Carl Safina.
It is hard to say if it was a coincidence, fate or both at the same time when in 1990, Okeanos founder Dieter Paulmann encountered a white sperm whale and was the first ever to film this encounter. Diving with this magnificent and legendary whale in a group of fifty sperm whales changed his life for sure. From that moment on he decided to dedicate his lifetime to the protection of marine habitats.