These 6 young “Ocean Heroes” show just how much our future depends on collaboration

OH-Wake is a new magazine that celebrates ambitious young leaders working to conserve natural environments and calling for climate action in their communities and beyond.

By Anneliese Olson — September 29, 2021

Growing up, my parents instilled two major philosophies in me. One was that to whom much is given, much is expected. The second was to always leave things better than you found them. These lessons still have a huge influence on my life, and they are why I remain so connected to HP’s mission to enable a more just and sustainable future for everyone. As those in the US last week wrapped up UN Climate Week to learn the latest from leaders in climate action, I’m reminded once again that collaboration is an essential part of our progress. HP is working toward our most ambitious sustainability goals yet, including specific targets for net zero carbon; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital equity and much more.

One thing is certain: We cannot do any of it alone.

One of our latest projects that I’m so proud to share with you is OH-Wake, a new magazine that celebrates ambitious young leaders working to conserve natural environments and calling for climate action in their communities and beyond. OH-Wake was created by Ocean Heroes Network, a non-profit program co-founded by Captain Planet Foundation and Lonely Whale, with HP’s support. Four issues of the magazine will be published; you can download a printable version or explore the digital edition of the inaugural issue, Let’s Talk About Ocean Plastichere.

Together, Chanté, Diego, Heather, Dejea, Oluwaseyi and Hannah, a group of 17- to 20-year-olds from around the world dubbed “Ocean Heroes”, served as contributing editors and have created a resource that’s as inspirational as it is educational. As I pored over the pages, I was reminded of two things that I believe are critical to our collective future.

Awareness without action isn’t enough

“We all need to be intentional about what we can do in our little spaces to catalyze change.” — Oluwaseyi Moejoh, 20, Nigeria (pg. 34 in OH-Wake)

Acknowledging that there’s a problem is always the first step toward progress, but the state of our planet demands more from each of us. That’s why HP continues to expand our commitments to climate action, human rights and digital equity. We know we can’t expect plastic waste to go away if we don’t invest in removing it from our own supply chain and reinvent how we make products, like the world’s first PC made with ocean-bound plastics. Just like we can’t count on progress and innovation in the tech industry if we aren’t willing to play an active role in educating the next generation. Learning about the work of these Ocean Heroes was a testament to the amazing progress that happens when we make a conscious decision to act.


RELATED: The new wave of tech gear made with ocean-bound plastics


This year, especially, I’ve seen this play out in my work and my life. When my team saw a challenge, like the hardships remote learning presented, they knew our technology and print capabilities offered solutions. Immediately, we came together — virtually, of course — to build an entirely new program called HP Turn to Learn, a partnership with leading scientific, publishing and media companies that launched just about a month after lockdowns hit the US. Printed copies of OH-Wake are now being distributed to teachers, students and youth organizations nationwide through Turn to Learn.

Creativity and collaboration are our most important tools for change

“I used to make projects out of plastics. I made a blue whale model with repurposed plastic.” — Dejea Lyons, 18, Cayman Islands (pg. 25 in OH-Wake)

This magazine alone is an astonishing work of creativity, but beyond that, every story inside is yet another reminder that when we think big and work together, our impact can multiply. In any sustainable impact initiative, there’s a constant trade-off and balance between what’s needed today and what will be needed tomorrow. None of us has all the answers, but every one of us has something to contribute.

I recently wrote about how we can bring more passion into our lives and, specifically, into the workplace by thinking creatively about the jobs we do every day and how they can take on new meaning. When colleagues or mentees I work with ask me how they can make a difference beyond their day-to-day role, I usually give them the same advice I try to follow myself. I think about the skills I’ve developed in the for-profit world and then think how I can put them to use working with a non-profit or community groups. When it comes to sustainability, there are many needs and many organizations that specialize in tackling a problem related to clean water, economic empowerment, or equality. If I can find ways to help with resources, connections or my own individual skills, I do it. When we merge our skillsets with others, we can build what was once unimaginable.