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Monash expert: Fostering an Ocean Literate society as part of SeaWeek Australia 9 – 16 March

Monash University 2 mins read

A Monash University expert is available to comment on this year’s SeaWeek and how schools might participate in this year’s theme which is ‘Planet Ocean: How the ocean shapes the Earth’. 

Professor Alan Reid, School of Curriculum, Teaching and Inclusive Education, Monash Faculty of Education
Contact: +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu
Read more of Professor Reid’s commentary at Monash Lens and Teachspace

The following can be attributed to Professor Reid:

“SeaWeek (9-16 March) is an opportunity to foster an ‘ocean literate’ society. Ocean Literacy, as a concept, centres on ensuring citizens develop ‘an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean’ (IOC-UNESCO definition).

“An ocean literate person is someone who understands the fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean, who is able to communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way and who is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.” 

“There are seven principles at the core of Ocean Literacy:

  • The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
  • The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.
  • The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
  • The ocean makes Earth habitable.
  • The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
  • The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
  • The ocean is largely unexplored.

“Learning about each principle, and acting upon that understanding, is argued to be key for Ocean Literacy in the 21st century. In contrast, a lack of ocean literacy has been shown to present a significant obstacle to engaging society in environmentally sustainable behaviours.

"Mainstream news in Australia is often dominated by stories of unhealthy, unsustainable and inequitable relationships between the continent and its ocean borders. They offer a stark reminder that ‘ocean illiteracy’ is widespread, especially when it comes to those who in both public and political circles understand closely related ideals, ocean resilience and ocean governance. 

“A typical way to address such noticeable gaps has been to promote Ocean Literacy through schools, communities, businesses and government.”

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact the Monash University Media team on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

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