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Caring for the Oceans

Caring for the world’s oceans and seas

by Helen Gwynne-Kinsey

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the importance of caring for the world’s oceans and seas.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children if they have ever visited the seaside. Ask them to describe their experiences.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show the images that depict the beauty of the British coastline.

    Point out that many people enjoy going to the beach. You may wish to ask the children to vote on their favourite activity at the beach. Examples could be sunbathing, swimming, playing games on the sand, building sandcastles and eating ice cream.

  3. Show the images of UK sea life.

    Ask the children to identify each animal and ask if anyone can tell you some information about each one.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Explain that the UK is surrounded by the sea, and our waters provide the habitat for over 44,000 different species of sea life.

  5. Show the images of litter that is regularly washed up on British beaches.

    Ask the children how the pictures make them feel.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Point out that scenes like these show us that all is not well in our oceans. Marine scientists have discovered that many plastics that find their way into the world’s oceans are toxic. This means that these plastics can damage the animals and even kill them. Another problem is that wildlife such as seabirds can get entangled in bits of plastic or even become stuck in plastic bottles.

  7. Fortunately, scientists, marine conservation societies and the UK government agree that we need to do more to protect our seas and oceans, particularly where the use of plastic is concerned. They suggest that we can all take some action – even if it is something as simple as taking home our rubbish after a day at the beach.

  8. Here are some other suggestions that would help to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.

    - Invest in a reusable water bottle rather than relying on single-use ones.
    - Take a bag with you when you go to the shops, rather than paying for single-use plastic ones.
    - Look for alternatives to plastic containers.

Time for reflection

Many world faiths believe that we all have a responsibility to look after the world in which we live.

Christians believe that God made the world and wants us all to care for it: this is known as stewardship.

The Bible says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it . . . for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.’ Christians believe that this means that we have no right to abuse God’s creation. Instead, we should act responsibly, realizing that we are privileged to have such a wonderful place in which to live.

Dear God,
Thank you for the beautiful world in which we live.
Thank you for the amazing variety of animals and plants.
Thank you for the sea and the beaches.
Please help us to think carefully about our responsibility in the world.
Please help us to care for the environment.
Please help us to think before we act.


‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)

Publication date: June 2020   (Vol.22 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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