Ocean Literacy and Unlocking the Revolution in Ocean Science Solutions – Global Issues

As part of this push, the United Nations Science, Education and Culture Organization (UNESCO) asks the world to join the revolution in unlocking innovative solutions for ocean science. UN News spoke with experts inside and outside the UN system reveal the importance of ocean literacy.

Empowering people to take action

Ocean literacy it is usually defined as an understanding of the influence of the ocean on you and your influence on the ocean.

Francesca Santoro, responsible for ocean literacy at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), however, explained that the definition goes beyond that.

“It’s really about empowering people with tools, making better use of ocean knowledge to become more responsible and able to make decisions that involve ocean resources in a more informed way. It’s really about being able to understand how much the oceans affect our lives and how much we can affect the ocean in both positive and negative ways.

Moken children swim in the Myeik archipelago in Myanmar.

© Ocean Image Bank / Ben Jones

Moken children swim in the Myeik archipelago in Myanmar.

As a focal point for ocean science within the UN system, the IOC is in charge UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030) and supports ocean research institutions around the world to increase public engagement.

“The IOC is working mainly to strengthen international cooperation in the field of ocean science and ocean research – as no country can undertake independent exploration of all ocean basins“Miss,” Santoro continued.

Critical moment

IN A decade of ocean science is an opportunity to change the state of the ocean over the next 100 years.

Earlier this year, UNESCO launched a campaign to enable people to join Ocean generation global movement.

The idea is to use transformative storytelling to connect citizens with knowledge of the ocean and to stimulate action to restore, protect and live better with the ocean.

In one interview with UN NewsVinicius Grunberg Lindozo, Communications Officer at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, described how you can change the game at this critical time.

Students as active agents of change

Some of the IOC’s flagship programs look at the specific impact of climate change on the ocean and how the ocean can be considered the best ally in the fight against climate change.

Working closely with schools, teachers and educators, the The UN Science Agency is using the results of its ocean research to develop lesson plans.

Aquariums help young children discover the water kingdom in an immersive environment.

© Unsplash / Tim B. Motivv

Aquariums help young children discover the water kingdom in an immersive environment.

“We develop a number of resources – brochures, videos or games – and use them to work with schools around the world to engage young people, from primary school to high school. We use an approach that includes not only learning goals, it also includes what we call social emotional learning and behavioral learning goals because we want students to become active agents of change – so that they can participate in initiatives that support conservation. the ocean, “Miss.” Santoro stressed.

Blue schools

In Portugal, together with Kenya hosts United Nations Conference on the Oceanwhich takes place from June 27 to July 1 Ocean Azul Foundation plays an important role in the development of literacy and conservation practices there.

Working for children’s climate education in Portugal, the foundation aims to make more children learn about ocean problems and their impact on the ocean, so that when they grow up they make decisions, no matter what profession they choose, they will play an important role. .

Samuel Collins, program manager at Oceano Azul, told UN News how the initiative works: “We need to provide information in a way that is easily digestible for different age groups. But given the importance of these issues and the impact they will have on the near future of present generations, we have a responsibility to provide certain information to young people.

Together with The Lisbon OceanOceano Azul has programs to educate blue generationteacher training and providing the curriculum and resources to convey the message in the first cycle of training.

They will do math, but they will talk about fish, they will learn French, talk about the ocean, they will deal with history, but they will integrate oceanography, so it’s just a reinforcement of the curriculum, looking through a blue lens. “They come to Oceanario and do a lot of fantastic activities and they are excited because there is a huge potential in a healthy ocean and strengthening that is important.”

The program aims to provide ocean literacy to all children residing in Portugal, with a special focus on the 5 to 9 age group.

According to the foundation, however, using Portugal as a starting point in the case of literacy will allow action to be repeated in other countries, namely in Portuguese-speaking countries and developing countries.

Lagoon Kindergarten

Not so far away in Italy, Venice has for centuries illustrated the dynamic interaction between humanity and nature, emphasizing its ability to act as a model for other similar ecosystems.

Due to its ideal characteristics and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘Venice and its lagoon“Were chosen as the venue for the pilot edition of”Lagoon Kindergarten“An initiative that started last May.

The new educational program, based on the promotion of the principles of ocean literacy and interaction with the environment, aims to promote a close link between children and nature, using outdoor activities and interactions with the local community.

Children take part in drawing activities at an ocean awareness event in Venice, Italy.


Children take part in drawing activities at an ocean awareness event in Venice, Italy.

The thematic lessons are held in classes of 25 students from kindergartens, conducted through outdoor training and aimed at discovering the ecosystem of the lagoon. This is followed by creative stimulation and drawing at the end of each lesson.

In partnership with the Prada Group, UNESCO hopes to enable young people to become the future generation of the ocean.

The international community must make education one of the pillars of its action on the ocean and commit to education to help today’s young people become responsible and conscious citizens of tomorrow, “said Anna Louise M. Thompson-Flores, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office.

Lisbon: increase it

The Ocean Literacy Society will meet in Lisbon, Portugal, for the UN Conference on the Ocean, ensuring that ocean literacy is seen as a central element of ocean action.

“The last UN conference on the ocean [in 2017, in New York], ocean literacy was in its infancy, but now we can really prove that we have achieved important results such as promoting the presence of ocean literacy in formal education and we have a growing network of blue schools around the world. But we need to increase that, make sure that ocean literacy initiatives are happening around the world, and strengthen cooperation to share good practice between different actors, “she said. Santoro told UN News.

in Lisbon, on the first day of the 2022 conference there will be a high-level Decade of the Oceania Alliance meetingfollowed by the Ocean Decade Forum on 30 Juneto convey a message of action, partnership and inclusion.

“My other expectation is that our community will include more and more stakeholders. At the moment we have mostly scientists and teachers, but I think we need, for example, journalists, media, to help us ensure that the ocean is present in the media and that people are more aware of the importance of the ocean for the future of this planet. she added.

The creative community is “crucial”

UNESCO has a series of events arranged for the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon – which include exhibitions such as Creative exhibition Decade of the Ocean in the city’s main square and the Generation Ocean concert at the Rock in Rio festival on June 26. These events include the global creative community, which aims to raise awareness of science and ocean conservation.

Forms. Santoro, collaborating with the creative community is crucial, especially because we are more aware that our emotions lead to action. Working [more in depth] with artists, photographers, improves people’s ability to feel more connected to the ocean or to rediscover how much we are connected to it. The creative community really helps us find that emotional part of our relationship with it – so we need to work together, scientists and artists, to design and develop projects together. Whether you are a scientist or a journalist, or an artist, or a politician, or someone working in the private sector. “We all need to unite and have a common vision and common goal,” she said. Santoro concluded.

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