Global Ocean Science Education for the Human/Ocean System
Keywords:ocean literacy, human ocean system
Most global citizens are not aware of how the state of the ocean and its resources affect their daily lives. They are also not aware of the extent of the services that the ocean provides, which are related to environmental, human health, economic, social, and geo-political factors. The importance of ocean science research in support of these services is critical to society, yet the arena of ocean science and related marine enterprises remain a mystery for a large portion of the global population. The global ocean system can’t be extracted from the Earth’s complex intertwined Earth systems nor can it be separated from human health, social, or cultural systems.
The pressures of a growing human population, increased development and demand on natural resources, and climatic warming necessitate decision making in support of national, regional, and international goals. It is more important than ever for all citizens to be knowledgeable and aware of their relationship with the ocean, how it affects them, and the scientific research that is addressing pressing ocean-related concerns. This is the essence of ocean literacy (OL) - an understanding of the ocean’s influence on people and people’s influence on the ocean. The U.S. ocean science research and education community has worked together for over 25 years to expand and enhance ocean science education efforts. These efforts have included the national OL initiative, a collaborative undertaking of several U.S. organizations and institutions, which developed the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts (OLPFC) for primary and secondary schools.
Recent collaborative efforts by COSEE (Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement) and the College of Exploration have striven to move beyond a single sector/single nation approach to ocean education and literacy through the engagement of multiple sectors connected to the human/ocean system, specifically the research, education, business, and policy sectors. This work, initiated in 2015 via the Global Ocean Science Education (GOSE) Workshops, is intended to move the dialog beyond the knowledge requirements of the OLPFC toward an understanding of anthropogenic impacts on the ocean and attitudes toward important ocean-related activities and behaviors. Systems thinking across nations, sectors, and natural systems is critical if the global citizenry is to become ocean literate. In addition, an understanding of the complex relationships in the ocean/human system is imperative in achieving the goals of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Deacde; 2021-2030). The 2019 GOSE Workshop will provide a forum for the international, cross-sector ocean science community to plan for the upcoming Decade and explore connections between ocean and systems literacy.