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Understanding the ocean’s influence

Understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.

Ocean Principles, Goals and Actions

In this step you will learn about the 7 ocean literacy principles, the UN’s sustainability development goals and discover the Ocean Decade actions that will address these challenges.

These three resources aim to make you aware of how important the ocean is to human wellbeing: medically, economically, socially, politically and environmentally. This knowledge will help you make good choices and take actions day-to-day that have a positive effect on the health of the ocean – a necessary resource for life on our blue planet to exist.

What is ocean literacy?

Ocean literacy has been defined as “an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.”

This YouTube video helps to explain what ocean literacy is:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

These Ocean Literacy Principles will help you understanding how the ocean effects the planet. To learn more about the seven principles of ocean literacy, see this helpful guide from UNESCO.

What does it mean to be an ocean literate person?

An ocean literate person is able to:

  • understand the importance of the ocean to humankind,
  • communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way, and
  • make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) to be met by the year 2030. For the first time the international community formally adopted a set of objectives for the future of the blue part of our planet. SDG 14 is labelled ‘Life Below Water,’ and aims to ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.’ Learn more about SDG 14 here.

United Nation’s Ocean Decade (2021-2030)

On 5 December 2017, the United Nations declared that a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, referred to as the ‘Ocean Decade’, would be held from 2021 to 2030. Officially launched and entering its implementation phase on 1 January 2021, the Ocean Decade is gaining momentum worldwide.

The following video gives a brief introduction to the Ocean Decade:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

There are 8 challenges that Ocean Decade aims to address:

  • Understand and beat marine pollution
  • Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainably feed the global population
  • Develop a sustainable and equitable ocean economy
  • Unlock ocean-based solutions to climate change
  • Increase community resilience to ocean hazards
  • Expand the Global Ocean Observing System
  • Create a digital representation of the ocean

The Decade Actions give examples of improved ocean science and actions to turn that knowledge into transformative solutions for sustainable development.

The following links provide useful information for you to better understand the Ocean Decade and how New Zealand is addressing the challenges our oceans are facing by developing innovative ocean science solutions for ocean resilience:

  • Website: The Ocean Decade

    Discover more about how scientists and stakeholders are developing scientific knowledge and partnerships in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, aiming to deliver science-based solutions that achieve the goals set for 2030.

  • Website: Te Tini a Tangaroa – The Ocean Decade in New Zealand

    Discover how Aotearoa New Zealand ocean science is addressing the significant challenges our oceans are facing during the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

  • Website: Tai Tōrua – Changing Tides

    A series of 8 webinars to support ocean resilience (all with videos transcripts). Created by World Wildlife Foundation New Zealand and the Department of Conservation.

  • Website: Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge

    The National Science Challenges are cross-disciplinary, mission-led programmes designed to tackle New Zealand’s biggest science-based challenges. The work is focused on enhancing the use of New Zealand marine resources within environmental and biological constraints.

What have you learned today?

In the comments area below, share your thoughts with your fellow learners:

  • Share something new you have learned about the ocean, about the Ocean Decade challenges and goals, and/or about a science-based action that you found interesting.
  • Is this your first time discovering these ocean literacy principles?
  • Do the examples in the links help you to feel more optimistic that the UN Sustainable Development and Ocean Decade goals can be reached by 2030?
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