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Where do we go now?

Where do we go now?
RACHEL MILLS: My view is it will be collectively agreeing that we’re going to keep the temperature change on this planet to less than two degrees centigrade. And to do that, there’s a whole variety of things we’re going to have to try, but if we can collectively do this, then the future will be bright.
DAVID BILLETT: The development of deep sea mining, I think, is inevitable. At some stage, we will need the resources that lie in the deep sea, and they are very extensive. The important part, really, is to make sure that those resources are developed in an environmentally benign way. That we plan properly. That we know what we’re doing. That we have enough knowledge to make sure that the environment isn’t impacted. And it’s not a matter just of preserving the special chemistries that might occur in deep sea organisms for the future, for medicines, or biotechnologies, but the oceans and the ocean floor is very important for many of the processes that really ultimately give us life on this planet.
So without the oceans re-mineralising many of the elements that are made in the sea surface and fall to the sea floor, then there wouldn’t be the nutrients that plants at the ocean surface would utilise to grow and to produce oxygen. So it’s these ecosystem services, these natural capability or capital that occurs in our oceans that we have to preserve in order that basically, we can live.
TAMMY HORTON: I think we need to work better towards nations working together to manage our oceans, and to better understand our impacts on them.
STEPHANIE PLON: I think that we will really have to stick together as a species and find new solutions to all the problems we’re currently facing. But I don’t think that’s the end of the road. I think it’s a challenge, but I believe we can solve that challenge.
MARIA BAKER: I think we should be concerned about the future of our ocean and our deep ocean included in that. I guess, my hopes are that we really pull together and have proactive engagement of all stakeholders, really pulling our resources to help manage this fantastic part of our planet for future generations.
WILL HOMOKY: An exciting aspect to being a scientist in the present day is because humans are putting such high pressures on resources on our planet, there’s never been a greater need for us to make wise decisions about how to use them. As scientists, we can inform this debate by understanding how the planet functions and therefore, how it might respond to future changes.
RACHEL MILLS: The future of the seas is in our hands, whether it’s small actions like buying fewer plastic bags or collective actions that make a difference to the quality of water in our seas. It all makes a difference.

Thank you for sharing your ideas and learning with us for the last four weeks. Your contributions in the on-line discussions have been a key part of the learning journey as we Explore our Ocean.

In this final Step, some of the course contributors discuss the issues that have been raised in this course and convey their hopes for how these challenges might be tackled in the future as we start the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development.

The United Nations General Assembly has endorsed seven outcomes for this crucial decade:
  1. A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and reduced or removed,
  2. A healthy and resilient ocean where The United Nations General Assembly has endorsed seven outcomes for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development leading to 2030:
  3. A productive ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean economy,
  4. A predicted ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions,
  5. A safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards,
  6. An accessible ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and technology and innovation,
  7. An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.
There are many things we can do to reverse human impact in the ocean and contribute to these 7 outcomes. We can make a difference as individuals: we can recycle more of our waste, we can choose to fly less frequently, we can choose the type of seafood we eat, we can stop using single use plastic, we can clean up our beaches.
Collectively we can contribute to these outcomes by working with our peers, pressure groups and our local elected officials: to influence policy makers and governments to legislate to reduce emissions, to ban plastic products, to create new renewable energy projects, to tax the use of plastics, to incentivise recycling, to reduce production, to fund research to generate new types of materials that biodegrade or can be recycled more effectively, to invest in modifications of landfill, sewage and other infrastructure so that plastics don’t escape into the oceans.
We can share our new learning and create global communities which truly understand the impact of our activity on the oceans, the value of the oceans to humanity and our future.
Spread the word, share the knowledge and come back and join us online.
As this course draws to a close, we ask whether there are there any choices that you will make as an individual for the future of the oceans. Examples might include sharing your new knowledge of the oceans, continuing your exploration of the oceans through further reading or study, considering the oceans in your choices as a consumer, or even raising ocean issues with your elected representatives.
On a previous run of the course, one of our learners created the following pledge:
The world’s oceans are the foundation of life, and as such should be protected, nurtured and only used as a resource after careful and measured scientific review. As a fellow of this course, and someone who cares about the oceans of the future – I pledge three simple things:
  1. To recycle and avoid single use, non-recyclable plastics.
  2. To make my use of fish an ethically based choice.
  3. To share my love and passion for the oceans, and encourage others to follow this pledge.
Signed ……

Over to you

Copy the above pledge (or write your own) and share on social media. Use the hastag #OceanPledge.

Please share your ideas about dealing with the human impacts on the ocean and delivering on the goals for the Ocean Decade with other learners in the comments section below and let’s commit to collectively changing behaviours and cleaning up our ocean for a sustainable future.

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Exploring Our Ocean

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