Volvo & Sky Atlantic present

Defiant Pioneers

Chapter 6 - The Unseen Ocean

The Unseen Ocean

1 in 5 children in Britain have never seen or paddled in the sea. It’s worrying to think that the destiny of the ocean is in the hands of a generation who feel little connection to it. Our new film follows Tom Franklin as he continues with his mission to help the next generation fall in love with it.

Tom Franklin

Although he grew up in London, Tom Franklin spent his childhood summers exploring rock pools and paddling on the beaches of Cornwall. It was the start of a love affair with the ocean that would grow stronger throughout his life. As an ocean swimmer, environmentalist and primary school teacher, Tom has always promoted ocean literacy and conservation. But when he transferred to an inner-city school, Tom was shocked to discover that many of the children had never paddled in or even seen the sea. Not only were children missing out on the joy and fascination that the sea can bring, it was also revealing a bigger problem – one that threatens the ocean’s long-term prospects.

“There are many people and many technologies working hard to fix the problem right now, but conservation is about long-term behavioural change. It’s humans who caused this problem and only humans who can fix it. The next generation, kids like these. Every kid”

Tom Franklin

Not wasting any time and waiting for a government grant, Tom and his volunteers used the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to get the project up and running. City Kids Surfing promotes understanding of the ocean and empowers a new generation of city children to protect it.

Swapping the urban environment with the vast, unspoilt coastline of Cornwall for a few days, the kids get to experience something they have only ever seen in books and on TV. They feel the sand beneath their feet, the waves against their skin. They feel the ocean’s power but also learn about its fragility. They are taught about coastal wildlife and conservation. They collect plastic washed up on the beaches. They even learn to surf! 

The hope is, that by transforming inner city kids into ocean guardians, they can play their part in the fight against plastic pollution, before it is too late.

Introducing The Day the Ocean Went Away

We are proud to present a new children’s book, The Day the Ocean Went Away, in partnership with the non-profit social enterprise City Kids Surfing


Not all inner-city children will get the opportunity to experience the ocean. So we wanted to help City Kids Surfing spread their message far and wide, capturing the magic of the ocean, the peril it faces, and the importance of ocean sustainability.


The Day the Ocean Went Away is a children’s book that follows a little boy called Jack, who loves the ocean. He wakes up one morning to watch the sunrise over the water, but to his surprise, the ocean has completely disappeared! He journeys into the dry seabed to find out why, meeting all sorts of ocean creatures along the way. Jack soon discovers that ocean has plenty of reasons to disappear…


The book is designed to teach the next generation about the importance of ocean sustainability. It's part of Volvo Car’s global initiative to fight plastic pollution and improve sustainability practices in our cars, and in the wider world.

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