People, Ocean, Planet

Changing our behaviour for the future of the ocean and the planet.

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What is People Ocean Planet?

People Ocean Planet is built on the best available scientific knowledge, developing a diverse range of projects and partnerships – all interconnected by the central aim of making the whole planet healthier, by improving the condition of our ocean.

The initiative is spear-headed by MASTS (the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland), bringing its existing network of science, industry and governance professionals together with new collaborators and disciplines – designing projects to drive people-based solutions for positive change.


Our mission

People Ocean Planet’s mission is to drive behavioural change across society to tackle major threats to the ocean, bringing about positive and lasting changes.

These will reduce and reverse the decline of marine ecosystems and wildlife. Our network of experts in marine research increasingly recognise that we must do this within a single human generation.


Our themes

Beyond Knowledge

Beyond Knowledge

Communicating science using interactive and memorable methods with messaging that encourages action and a deeper understanding.

People Power

People Power

Using information, tools and empowering contexts to help people bridge the gap between good intentions and action.

Better business

Better business

Enabling and encouraging businesses to achieve sustainable supply chains, and making it easier for people to make responsible choices.


Our priorities

People Ocean Planet will tackle major issues for the ocean environment. With our roots in the scientific community, credible science is fundamental to all of our actions. Where possible, we will measure our impact so that we can improve, adapt and expand our efforts.

The scope of issues covered by People Ocean Planet is broad. Our work will encompass actions on land that can help protect the ocean, as well as actions directly connected to the sea. The choices we make in our homes, shops, communities, fields and businesses combine to influence the future of the ocean – and therefore the planet.


What are the initial areas we will be working on?

Climate Change

Seafood Sustainability

Deep Sea Mining

Pollution From Land

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Plastic waste is an important issue with which many people are increasingly familiar, its fate often in the ocean and on beaches – a very visual and symbolic reminder of our impacts.

Our ambition is to tackle some of the less visible, out-of-sight and more intangible issues that also present a significant challenge to the marine environment.


Time for change

2021-2030 is the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development – a decade to deliver the research needed to enable sustainable oceans for future generations. People Ocean Planet will contribute to the Decade’s objectives, drawing on scientific knowledge to enable changes in society that are complementary to ocean health and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2021 we will also see the UN Conference of Parties 26 (CoP26) event – a pivotal moment for political negotiations to tackle the global climate emergency. We can expect ocean challenges and solutions to figure heavily in the negotiations. Before, during and after CoP26 our outreach and projects will seek to embolden ambitions for the transformative change we need to see.


How we're driving change

Changing behaviours for a better future

People Powered Change

Working Together

Spreading Positive Vibes

Knowledge Is Power

Is it ok to influence people to make a change for the planet?

Efforts to influence people’s behaviour must adopt a clear code of ethics. People Ocean Planet is committed to scientific integrity, and to using a robust evidence base to inform and empower people without affecting their agency or free will. We must also be sensitive to different social, cultural and economic contexts across regions and communities, and will strive to avoid unintended consequences that exacerbate human inequality.

Behavioural change techniques are used widely in the public health and marketing sectors; People Ocean Planet will contribute to the growing movement for behaviour change that supports environmental goals. More often than not, the long-term context of sustainability provides a synergy between environmental, humanitarian, health and economic outcomes. People Ocean Planet wants a resilient future for people and nature to help society live within the capacity of the planet.


Project Partners

Led by:

Through MASTS, POP draws on the expertise of over 700 researchers across 18 Universities, research institutes, public sector research organisations and non-departmental bodies, together with wider national and international networks.

Supported by:

Also in association with:

Key Contacts

  • Chris Leakey

    POP Coordinator

  • Hannah Ladd-Jones

    POP Assistant

Our beautiful images come from a range of sources, and for the use of their images, our extra special thanks goes to:

Scottish Natural Heritage and their © photos taken by George Stoyle (Diver in Loch Laxford, jewel anemones and scorpion fish, St Kilda anemones cliff)

NERC ChEsSo Consortium / University of Southampton ©; taken from a ROV called Isis, managed and operated by the National Oceanography Centre (Hydrothermal vent chimney)

Our beautiful banner video clips are sourced from a range of places, and our special thanks goes to Nina Constable for her © clips of waves crashing, a fishing boat at sea, underwater scene of kelp and waves at sunset.