How does Marine Education Center work for a sustainable world?
For decades us humans have taken our existence on Earth for granted. We have lived and continue to live as if there are unlimited resources to exploit. We have used the earth as a garbage dump, chopped down forests and overfished without a regard for a sustainable future for coming generations. This has had major consequences which affect not only animals and nature but also humans.
The ocean, which is currently threatened by overfishing, littering, pollution, acidification and eutrophication, is not feeling well. Without a healthy ocean, animals, plants and people on land cannot exist. Did you know, for instance, that more than 70% of the oxygen in the air we breathe is produced by the ocean? We must understand the ocean's impact on us and how we influence the ocean, to become ocean literate. We must all act together and work towards a sustainable future. Although it is us humans who have caused the problems on our planet, we are also part of the solution. Together, we can make an effort to reduce climate impact. A good start is to look closer at the UN's Agenda 2030 - 17 global goals that will change the world.
The global goals and our sustainability work permeate our entire business and it is very important for us that we always do our utmost. Throughout 2018, we have engaged students, the public and our own staff in several beach cleanings on Ribersborg beach. So far we have collected more than 1200 kg of rubbish. It's more than a ton of junk and plastic that would have damaged nature if it had been left behind.
However, one should not forget that plastic is a very good material, it's cheap, light and very versatile. Much of our operating equipment is made out of plastic. For example, our wetsuits could not be made of anything other than neoprene (synthetic rubber). But we actively avoid all unnecessary plastic, especially disposable plastics. We also take care of the plastic we have, if something breaks we try to fix it, otherwise we recycle it.
Say after us: Use the right plastic in the right place!
With our educational programs and our activities with the public we want to spread ocean literacy and thus create engagement and commitment. If you have an emotional bond to something, you'll be more likely to take care of it. We want everyone to love the ocean just the way we do and therefore help to take care of it.
What is Ocean literacy then? Ocean literacy is somewhat like it sounds - to be literate about the ocean and why it is important. There are seven essential principles of Ocean Literacy:
1. One ocean - one planet, the Earth has one big ocean with many features
2. The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth
3. The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate
4. The ocean makes the Earth habitable
5. The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
6. The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected
7. The ocean is largely unexplored
Increased Ocean literacy in our society is crucial for the planet and the survival of marine life. If you know the importance of a healthy ocean, you hopefully make more sustainable decisions. All people regardless of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or other beliefs, functional variations, sexual orientation or age have the right to become ocean literate. That's why our business is for everyone.
If you want to learn more about Ocean Literacy, you can read more about it here.
The Global Goals
At Marine Education Center we work a lot with the Global goals. In 2015 the UN released the Global goals for sustainable development and Agenda 2030. Through Agenda 2030, the world's leaders have committed to 17 global goals to achieve four amazing things by 2030:
- End poverty
- Fight inequality
- Stop climate change
- Promote peace and justice
The 17 Global goals and its 169 targets is the most ambitious agreement for sustainable development that world leaders have ever made. It integrates all three aspects of sustainable development; social, economic and environmental.
The Global goals unite the world's countries through a universal agenda and demand that all countries - rich and poor - act both nationally and globally to achieve the goals by 2030. It is not the UN that is responsible for the implementation of the goals, but instead each countries. In Sweden, all ministers in our government have a responsibility for the implementation, but the agenda requires that industries, academia, civil society and individuals also are engaged. In order for us to succeed, everyone must contribute - even you!
We have integrated the Global goals into all our educational programs. For instance, we discuss how to get engaged at local level for a global change, through these different questions:
- Which, do you think, are the five most important goals?
- Why have you chosen those five?
- Do the goals interlink and are each one equally important?
- What can you do to make a change and be a part of shaping a more sustainable development?
The aim is to get the students to reflect about what they think is important and how they want our world to be like. We want the new generation to feel hope for the future and that they want to do what's right. The goals are ambitious and may seem difficult to achieve, but it is definitely possible. With the help of the Global goals, we will be the first generation that can eradicate poverty and the last that can tackle climate change.
If your want to learn more about the Global goals you can read more about it here.