Tik and Bubbles will tackle three main issues in the areas of Education, Environment and Health.
Education: There is a real need for better science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training to address skills shortages. Australia has a long track record of students underperforming in STEM. In addition there has been a steep decline in student commitment to science and maths between Years 4 and 8, and a declining percentage of Year 12 students participating in STEM. We want to help ensure there are enough STEM graduates coming through the system by encouraging young people to pursue STEM studies and careers. This is important for driving innovation, which is essential to increase productivity and to create prosperity.
Environment: Australian waters contain highly diverse and unique ecosystems, ranging from Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to Tasmania’s giant kelp forests. The GBR is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and internationally recognised through World Heritage listing for its outstanding biodiversity of species and habitats. However, declining water quality, climate change, development, pollution and dredging all pose massive threats to one of the richest and most diverse natural ecosystems on earth. We want to help protect Australia’s marine biodiversity by raising awareness of these critical environmental issues and igniting positive change. We also want to promote the value of protecting biodiversity beyond conservation. Australia's commercial fishing and aquaculture industry is worth over $2 billion annually and employs around 11,600 people while tourism to the GBR contributes more than $6 billion annually and employs around 63,000 people. Marine life also provides invaluable ecosystem services including coastal defence against damaging waves and storms, processing of pollution, oxygen production and greenhouse gas regulation. Therefore, conserving Australia’s marine biodiversity is not just desirable - it is essential. By protecting biodiversity, we are protecting our future and our children's future.
Health: Overweight and obesity is a serious global epidemic. In Australia, almost one in four children are affected and the rate of increase (1%) is amongst the highest in the world. We want to improve human health and well-being by encouraging young people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Healthy young people are a critical resource for the future of Australia.
We aim to create community-based science communication projects that are creative, collaborative, challenging and fun. By engaging students in real-world education, our projects will enable them to better understand the connection between science, society and technology. It is expected that students will make lifestyle changes; becoming more socially responsible and taking action to address local environmental issues. By becoming more involved in local projects, students will understand that they can have a positive impact and create change not just locally, but also nationally and globally. Our projects will equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to find science-based solutions to environmental issues.
Lloyd Godson is a 35-year-old edutainer, adventurer, creative activist and aquanaut committed to encouraging more young Australians to undertake STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) studies. Creative, passionate and enthusiastic, he loves to live his wild ideas and put them to the test in the real world.
The BioSUB Project
In 2005, he won the Australian Geographic Society’s “Live Your Dream” Wildest Adventure Competition. With his AUD 50,000 sponsorship prize, Lloyd began working on a one of a kind science adventure that he called The BioSUB Project. His winning idea was to create the world's first underwater habitat incorporating a plant-based life support system. In just eighteen months he designed and built an underwater habitat from recycled steel, lowered it into an Australian lake and lived self-sufficiently inside for twelve days. Lloyd received the coveted “Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year” award, was nominated for the Albury Citizen of the Year and was given a ‘highly commendable’ mention in the Powerhouse Museum Wizard of the Year awards for his exploits in the BioSUB.
More than 1,000 primary and secondary school students logged on via the Internet to participate in Lloyd’s virtual, underwater classroom sessions. Hundreds of E-mails flooded in from children and adults from all over the world and the international media found the story irresistibly quirky. By the time he emerged from his BioSUB, it was clear Lloyd had achieved far more than a personal goal of living underwater.
Based on a true story...
The popularity of The BioSUB Project led Lloyd and some friends to produce an educational children’s book titled “Tik and Bubbles: The Little Aquanaut”. Art imitates life as the main character Tik and his fishy friend Bubbles provide young people with the message to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem. Although it was never published, the concept remains the inspiration behind Tik and Bubbles.
Lloyd’s next project, Life Amphibious, was an adventurous human-powered submarine expedition between the Greek islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca. The Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS) in Montreal, Canada, supported the project by sending an assistant professor, four engineering students and their pioneering Omer 6 submarine to Greece for the expedition. The submarine featured a biology inspired design, resembling a penguin, as the means of propulsion and was showcased in an exhibition titled “Water Marks” Australian Underwater Adventures at the Goulandris Natural History Museum.
A Guinness World Records
Most recently, Lloyd launched the LEGOLAND Year of Records 2010 by living in an underwater house in the LEGOLAND ATLANTIS by SEA LIFE aquarium, LEGOLAND Deutschland®, Günzburg, Germany. He entered on 30 March and surfaced again 14 days later having achieved a new Guinness World Records for the most electricity generated by human power underwater (2,502 watt hours). It was a globally unique experiment with over 100,000 children and parents visiting Lloyd on location in LEGOLAND Deutschland and via the Web site. The project featured on National Geographic Channel’s Naked Science ‘City Under the Sea’ documentary and with over 100 million viewers was awarded a silver medal at the Econ Awards in Germany in the category “PR-Activity”.
If you dream it, you can do it!
When Lloyd was a boy, his dad told him one thing every night, “If you dream it, you can do it”. He wants to pass this important message onto as many children as he can through Tik and Bubbles and contribute to making the next generation the most active, curious, compassionate and creative one so far.