As a freelance writer and PR consultant working with for-purpose organisations, it’s important to me that my business has a positive impact. As you might know, last year I had a policy to adopt a marine animal on behalf of every new client. I was proud to adopt 12 marine animals (plus a guide dog puppy) between April '21 and March '22. Together with some ad hoc donations, this meant I was able to donate 1% of my revenue to charity during this time. Now, I'm switching things up a bit. It's time to say farewell to my adoption policy. But... drumroll please... I'm delighted to announce I will now be supporting Project Seagrass in the coming year.
What is Project Seagrass?
Project Seagrass is an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems through education, research and action. Its mission is to lead societal change to enable the recognition, recovery and resilience of seagrass ecosystems globally; that provide biodiversity, equitable and sustainable livelihoods, and planetary life support.
In the last 40 years, we’ve lost a third of seagrass meadows globally. Since 2013, Project Seagrass has been committed to reversing that trend. The charity is working to conserve seagrass to ensure the benefits they provide communities are sustained now and for the future.
Project Seagrass was created with the intention with reversing the loss of seagrass by turning research into effective conservation action and communication through partnerships with local communities and other stakeholders. Its dedicated interdisciplinary team is passionate about securing a future for seagrass.
Why Project Seagrass?
If you've been following me over the last year, you might have noticed seagrass pop up a few times. I visited Plymouth to volunteer to help the Ocean Conservation Trust put seagrass seeds into bags ready to be planted. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about seagrass, that it occurs naturally around much of the UK coastline and what an important ecosystem it is.
So what is seagrass? To explain, I'll quote Project Seagrass - they are the experts after all:
"Seagrasses are flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along our coast. These sensitive plants are different from seaweed and form bright green leaves. These leaves form large, dense meadows under the sea. Like the coral reefs and rainforests of the tropics, these underwater gardens are full of life, hosting many animals of different shapes, colours and sizes. However, like rainforests and coral reefs, these incredible underwater gardens are threatened. Globally, estimates suggest we lose an area of seagrass around the same size as two football pitches every hour. Protecting what is left is vital."
The opportunity to help conserve and restore an ecosystem that has a positive impact in the UK and around the world really appealed to me. So, over the next year, I will be doing what I can to support the project and helping to secure a future for seagrass.
What's the new policy?
I will donate 1% of each cleared invoice to Project Seagrass. So, every time clients use one of my services, a small percentage will go towards this good cause.
Because it's nice to have a tangible idea of the impact these donations will have, I'll be tracking the approximate number of seeds purchased through my donations. Based on the charity's calculations, one hessian bag of around 50 Zostera marina seagrass seeds costs £15. This works out as a cost of 30p per seed. One bag should result in the germination of around five plants. These would grow to cover one metre squared over five years. I wonder how many square metres of seagrass I can help fund?!
Of course, this isn't exact. The cost to restore seagrass will vary by location and a number of other factors. But it gives a good estimate to work with. If these figures change during my fundraising campaign, I'll be sure to update my figures!
How will you be donating?
I will be making monthly donations to Project Seagrass through Work for Good. The payment will be at least 1% of all payments for my services that cleared that month. Although Work for Good takes a fee for their service, using the platform means the legal and logistical side of things are all sorted without any time or effort from Project's Seagrass' small but busy team.
What else are you doing?
I hope you appreciate the commitment to ensuring some of my fee goes towards marine conservation. If you’re wondering how else I give back, please read my environmental and social responsibility policy which I update regularly. I keep track of my impact here and you can find information about my pro bono services here. And keep an eye on my LinkedIn and blog for updates on how many seagrass seeds I fund through these donations.