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Spectacular 8 -Goal 14

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United by their desire to leave a legacy of sustainable behaviour and a pollution-free planet for their children, 8 women took to cleaning the beaches of Dubai, as part of their action campaign for the upcoming  Global Goals World Cup Tournament in Dubai. By transforming the trash they found, into a sculpture named Tilly the Turtle, the Spectacular8 team hope to raise awareness of the adverse impact humans are having on marine life, and encourage people to adopt more sustainable consumption habits.

The Horrifying Human Impact on the Oceans
More than 8million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year. It is even estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Pollution in our oceans is so extensive, that it threatens the existence of over 600 known species of marine life, in addition to endangering the fragile balance of the ecosystem upon which human life depends. The burden of such knowledge can weigh so heavy on us, that at times it can seem easier to turn away from the problem than to take action to tackle it. And yet, if we are to even attempt to reverse the negative impacts of pollution on the planet, we must take collective responsibility to act NOW. This is precisely what motivated 8 women to form the Spectacular8 Team in Dubai to enter The GGWCup; The New women's amateur World Cup - Where Teams play for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. (The Global Goals) They chose to play for Goal Number 14: "LIfe Below Water" That has the formal objective; To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. (learn about all the goals here)

The Captain of the Spectacular 8 team, Gina Fernandez describes how the women became increasingly concerned with the adverse effect pollution was having on biodiversity in the region; “for years we had heard about how Hawksbills turtles are under threat in UAE”, yet it was after watching, the now viral video, of the miles-long floating tide of rubbish off the Caribbean coast,  that the women felt called to action. The team explained that there were keen to join Global Goals World Cup because they already had a mission, and had seen how through soccer GGWCup had encouraged and supported women to take action to resolve the global issues they cared about most. 

The Cigarette Butt Mission and the Birth of Tilly The Turtle
Collecting a total of 120, 400 cigarette butts and over 60kg of plastic waste, from 4 beach-cleaning sessions, the women’s efforts quickly became well-known in the wider community, attracting volunteers of all ages, for example students from Gems Modern Academy. While the amount of rubbish collected is remarkable in itself, Gina Fernandez went a step further; creating a sculpture of the endangered turtles (named Tilly) from the cigarette butts. Gina recognized that by creating Tilly; a physical, artistic representation of the impact human pollution is having on marine life, the cause was more likely to capture the attention of children, and adults alike. Tillly is now used as an educational tool in schools to spread awareness of the threat human consumption habits pose to marine life and the future of our oceans at large.

Changing Through One First Step
This is an example of how one simple idea; to clean up beaches, has snowballed into a local movement with global impact. By mobilizing committed volunteers, creating poignant artwork and raising awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 among the younger generations, the story of the Spectacular8 team is what The Global Goals World Cup is all about: This is the work of just one team of dedicated women who decided to take that step from concern to action.
No matter where we are in the World, the Global Goals have local relevance. Being a Global Goals activist may be as simple as stopping one cigarrette butt from ending in the stomach of a sea turtle. -who knows, it might turn into over 100.000! 

If you are similarly feeling inspired to become the champion of a Sustainable Development Goal, but don’t know how, or what you’d do, head to our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

To keep up to date with Spectacular8 team (Gina Fernandes, Shilpa Billaya, Sonal Seth, Soni Chabbra, Trupti Dave, Simran Kapoor, Nisha Gilani and Swati Vats) and track their progress in the GGWCup Dubai Tournament on January the 19th, Like their Facebook page 

See you January 19th when Dubai hosts the first MENA region GGWCup in The Sustainable City 
Partnering with Sustainable Mindz and a group of local supporters. We are so excited about having Bollywood star John Abraham, and Danish footballer Allen Nielsen on our referee team. Also our favorite drummer in the whole world Ihan Haydar of L.I.G.A will join us again! Go to the event page to learn more. 

ggwcupSDG14, Teams UAE, Spectacular 8