About the event
Every year the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date is left to individual Governments but it is usually celebrated during the last week in September, generally the last Thursday in the month. World Maritime Day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasise a particular aspect of IMO's work. With 80% of global trade coming from international shipping, this is an important topic.
How to approach it
This day presents a good opportunity to introduce students to a basic understanding of the global economic system and to the emissions it causes. Maritime trade is a great way to think about how we have become so interconnected, how what we consume comes from all over the world and how vast amounts of energy are used to make all of this happen.
To make this vast system more real, set a challenge for your students. Ask them to look around their classroom and in their possessions to find something which has been produced in the furthest location. This could be the tag on their clothes, their computer made in China or the fruit they have at break time. Next, ask your students to imagine how it got to them. Ask: how many people and modes of transportation did this thing have to go through? What are the lives of these people like? What is the transport route like? Tell your students that if something comes from another continent, it has likely been shipped here.
Did you know that 80% of all global trade involves ships sailing over the oceans? That’s a lot of ships! Many people, in many parts of the world are involved in this process and they’re the reason we have all of the food, products and technology that we have. Picture yourself as a computer travelling from China or an Avocado from Peru. What does your journey look like? How many people and kinds of transport does it need to get to a shop in the UK? How much energy gets used up?