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Young Social Innovators (YSI) Ireland Empowering Young People to Come Up with Innovative Social Solutions to Social Challenges

Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a non-profit organization that empowers young people to use their talents, insights, passion, and creativity to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges. For the past 21 years, their fun and engaging programs have supported students to create team-based action projects and storytelling on issues they care about, putting their innovative ideas into action to bring about positive social change for the benefit of people, communities, and the environment.Young Social Innovators empowers young people to reimagine the world into one that is more caring, equal and fair, and to come together to bring their ideas to life. Through engagement in YSI and, through our research and advocacy, young people are given a voice and agency on the issues that matter to them.

The Impact YSI Makes

Every year, some 15,000 young people are supported to effect positive change in their communities and beyond and to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through Young Social Innovators. Their network of engaged young people and Youthreach Centres demonstrate foresight and leadership around the development of active, creative, and global citizens who care about the creation of a fair, more equal, and sustainable world.

Our training and world-class resources equip educators with everything needed to facilitate social innovation projects with young people, and our platforms and events provide important mechanisms through which young people's ideas can be shared and their voices heard. Young Social Innovators is for all young people and every child can contribute to the work of a YSI team.

The Social Issue – Impact of Pollution on Marine Life
Commotion in the Ocean

Understanding that the oceans play an essential role in our life on Earth, this YSI team decided to tackle the issue of the impact of pollution on marine life. After learning that the oceans provide us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe and contribute to over 97% of the world's water supply, it has become clear to the young Irish people that the issue of ocean pollution affects mankind as much as marine life.

The Idea: Commotion in the Ocean

The big idea for the Commotion in the Ocean team was to bring awareness on how people can reduce their carbon footprint, which impacts the amount of pollution entering the seas, and oceans and damaging marine life. The team came up with the idea of designing turtle bins to be displayed in the local area of Donegal Pier. In addition, the team took the issue of pollution into their own hands and organised regular beach clean-ups on Rossnowlagh Beach. To educate younger generations and engage them in helping combat the problem, students created resource packs that were shared with local communities in preparation for World Oceans Day 2022.

Working in conjunction with Donegal County Council, young students created a turtle bin that was installed at Donegal Pier. The bin is a response to the growing problem of marine pollution in the communities local area, caused by the lack of bins at the pier, which increases the chances of litter getting into the local waters and impacts marine life.

In order to raise awareness in their community, the team organised a successful fundraiser for the whole community, and ran a Commotion in the Ocean Quiz which included four rounds of questions based on ocean facts, water sport, marine creatures and a music round all based around water-related issues. Through this activitity, the team fundraised over €300, which was donated to Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI), gifting the animals a second chance at life as well as allowing SRI to take lead in the fight against climate change, ocean pollution, habitat degradation and unsustainable fishing.

The Impact:
The Commotion in the Ocean Team's thoughtful and strategic action has made a positive difference to marine life in the Dongeal area. The beach clean-up organised by the team resulted in reducing the chance of multiple full bags of litter entering the waters at Rossnowlagh beach. In addtion, the bin created and installed by the team at the Donegal Pier, provides a long-term solution to the problem of litter-caused marine pollution in the Donegal area, by reducing the amount of litter entering the sea.

The bin, despite its practical function, is also a statement piece, and has been constructed to raise awareness on rubbish distribution and pollution. This wooden art piece, shaped like a turtle, included a clear plastic “shell” to hold the rubbish. The “shell” is made with a clear material in order to represent what marine life can ingest as a result of the dumping of plastic and rubbish in the ocean.

Young people are the future and by educating them on the vital issue of marine pollution, we are thriving for a better future.
Commotion in the Ocean Team Member.

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