Are you a citizen of the sea or a bit of a landlubber, asks Pamela Buchan. Take this quiz to find out how connected you are to the sea.

For many of us, the Covid-19 lock-down means days out at the coast are a distant memory, for now. But our seas and coasts will always matter to all of us, feeding us, regulating our climate and promoting health and wellbeing. Whether you're a birdwatcher, a sailor, a whalespotter or a daytripper, take our fun test to find out how connected you are to the sea.

How do you feel about the sea?

A) I love learning about it

B) I feel I am almost part of the sea

C) I like it on a nice day, but don’t like how unpredictable it can be

D) I don’t feel particularly connected to the sea

Which statement do you most agree with?

A) I enjoy variety and change, and like to make my own decisions

B) I want to help people and think everyone should look after the environment

C) I like to feel safe and I don’t want to do things wrong

D) Being successful is important to me and I want to be recognised for my achievements

What environmental citizenship actions do you tend to get involved with?

A) Citizen science, I like recording species and contributing to research

B) I make a lot of changes to reduce my overall carbon footprint

C) I beach clean / litter pick and sometimes sign petitions to ask for the government to take action

D) I don’t think about it much, but I do try to avoid plastic microbeads and say no to straws

What do you most enjoy about Blue Planet, or other marine nature programmes?

A) Discovering the huge array of marine wildlife

B) Seeing the beautiful seascapes from around the world

C) I like to see more about our local wildlife

D) I don’t really watch nature programmes

In what way do you most need the sea?

A) I need the sea for recreation and fun

B) The sea improves my wellbeing

C) I’m dependent upon the sea for my work

D) Though I like it, I don’t really need the sea

What marine issues most concern you?

A) Biodiversity being threatened by human impacts, the loss of such vibrant life would be a travesty

B) The sea and us are part of one big global system, without good marine health we can’t have a sustainable world

C) The sea provides us with food and industry, if it’s not healthy it might not work for us

D) Being restricted from things I want to do when I visit the sea

How often do you visit the coast near you or when on holiday?

A) I go when I can because I like to be out and about in nature

B) I live near the sea so that I can go as often as possible

C) I visit occasionally

D) Not often

What do you like to do at the coast?

A) I love doing watersports so visit to surf, snorkel, or kayak

B) I just like to sit and be one with the sea

C) I like to go with family or friends to sit on the beach and eat and chat

D) I go to blow off steam and relax from my busy life

Where do you feel you most belong?

A) I feel really at home at my local beach or nature area because I understand it so well

B) I’m a global citizen, I feel part of humanity and a shared world

C) With my local community, friends and neighbours

D) I can find my place wherever I choose to

When would you get involved in a local environmental protest?

A) When I’ve looked at the evidence and I think the plans don’t stand up to scrutiny

B) I get involved in all kinds of protests; I want to preserve our environment from development

C) If plans were going to take away our local recreation space

D) I’d only get involved if the plan would affect my work or property

Mostly As: you are an ocean lover

You thrive on learning about the dynamic, diverse marine environment. Its changeable nature and how much is unknown about it is a challenge you want to take on. Monitoring wildlife, participating in citizen science projects, attending lectures or events about the sea are all interesting to you.

Even litter-picking makes you think about how much of what litter is around and where it might have come from. You feel amazed that other people don’t seem to care about marine issues and sometimes get involved in public engagement events to help spread awareness and educate people about how to do more.

Understanding more about the sea is its own reward and you worry about what will happen if we don’t take steps to tackle human impacts. You like to take action into your own hands and it’s frustrating that politicians don’t seem to listen to science.

Challenge yourself by getting involved in local politics or policy-making. You will learn how it all works as well as being able to influence it with your expertise.

Mostly Bs: you are a world citizen

Though you love the sea, you feel like it’s part of one big global system that is being abused by humans. As well as thinking about the sea, you also think about other environmental impacts and particularly climate change, and make changes in your life to tackle all of these issues.

You take care about your carbon footprint, try to buy local, avoid using your car and have been on a renewable energy tariff for a good while. The sea is important because it’s most of the earth’s surface and regulates all our ecosystems. You feel emotional about the threats to the environment and tend to suffer with eco-anxiety or eco-grief.

Challenge yourself by getting involved in campaigning and lobbying on marine issues. It would be great to put that passion to use on the wheels of power.

Mostly Cs: you are a homebody

You are worried about the environmental agenda, both the change that is being demanded and the effects of climate change. You want to feel that the future is more secure so would like to do your bit to improve the marine environment, but it’s difficult to make big changes in your own life and most people you know aren’t really doing much either.

You’d like to see more help from your local council and government to make the changes easier and more affordable. When more people are doing things, it’ll become easier to join in.

Challenge yourself by making one change and telling your friends about it. You have more influence than you give yourself credit for.

Mostly Ds: you are a high achiever

You don’t feel that marine issues affect you personally. You have big plans already and are worried that the ideas behind environmental action might prevent you from achieving your goals. It feels like small actions aren’t really going to do much to protect the sea and if you were ever going to become an active marine citizen, you’d want to be great at it and make a big impact.

You already lead such a busy life and don’t feel particularly like you belong at the sea, so it can be hard to see how much the marine environment needs your help.

Challenge yourself to make environmentally sustainable decisions even if you can’t yet see the benefits – everything in the natural world is connected and your business partners and peers will respect your decision to act more sustainably.

You can lead the way.


Pamela Buchan is a researcher at Exeter University investigating marine citizenship and how policy creates an external framework that helps or hinders it. This quiz is loosely based on her findings connecting marine citizenship with a marine identity, marine place attachment and basic human values.

“I strongly believe that almost anyone can be motivated to get involved with marine citizenship if we work on reaching other people,” Buchan says. “We need to focus less on the easy wins of people who are already interested in the sea or environmental action, and develop new ways of engaging people in the mental space they occupy.”

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