Sea Change, Our Ocean Our Health

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The Sea Change project aims at establishing a fundamental “Sea Change” by empowering European citizens to take actions towards a healthy ocean and seas, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet.

Sea Change is funded by the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation of the European Union. It aims at establishing a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens visualise their relationship with the sea, by empowering them, as Ocean Literate citizens. As such, citizens take direct and sustainable action towards a healthier ocean, healthier communities and ultimately a healthier planet.

By using the concept of Ocean Literacy, Sea Change wants to create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens about health and how it depends on the health of seas and oceans worldwide. Sea Change moves to bring about real actions through behavioural and social change methodologies. Building on the latest social research on citizen and stakeholder attitudes, perceptions and values, the Sea Change partnership designs and implements mobilisation activities that are focused on education, community and governance and directly targeted at citizens. The effectiveness of those actions is assessed systematically, which improves the project’s techniques and spreads a level of “Sea Change” in social behaviour across Europe.

Basic information

Country: Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Coordinator: Marine Biological Association of the UK, https://www.mba.ac.uk/

Programme: Horizon 2020

Project Acronym:

Target groups: college students, education authorities, general public, industry, parents, policy makers, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, under school-age kids, university students, university lecturers, vocational school students, youth clubs

Topic: Earth science, Ecology, Environmental sciences, Fisheries science, Oceanography, Education

Start year: 2015

End year: 2018

Url: http://www.seachangeproject.eu/

Contact person: Fiona Crouch, Email ficr (at) mba.ac.uk

Main objectives of the Sea Change project:

  • Compile an in-depth review of the links between seas and oceans on one hand and human health on the other, based on latest knowledge in research.
  • Build on the latest social research on citizen and stakeholder attitudes, perceptions and values, to help design and implement successful mobilisation activities focused on education, community and governance, and directly target citizens.
  • Build on significant work in the field to date, adopt best practices and embed Ocean Literacy across established strategic initiatives and networks in order to help maximise impact and ensure sustainability.
  • Ensure that efforts to sustain an Ocean Literate society in Europe continue beyond the life of Sea Change through codes of good practice, public campaigns and other ongoing community activities.
  • Ensure that all activities of Sea Change are carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure maximum sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Ensure that this knowledge is shared with transatlantic partners to bring about a global approach to protecting the planet’s shared seas and oceans.

The objectives will be achieved through a closely interlinked programme. Sea Change includes a mobilisation phase in which citizens are actively involved, as well as formal education and policy actors. Crucially, the legacy of Sea Change, including further actions to share knowledge with North America, are embedded within the project.

Methodology of the Sea Change project:

The objectives of the Sea Change project are reached through a closely interlinked programme.

  • Sea Change will first create a resource that contains standardised knowledge about the links between the planet’s seas and ocean and human health.
  • This information is disseminated to raise general awareness on the subject and communicated through targeted campaigns tailored for key stakeholder groups.
  • Dialogues are carried out with policymakers about sea and ocean health. Consultation and engagement activities ensure that a mutual learning process is in place between the project partners and target stakeholders.
  • Relevant programmes and initiatives from Member States of the European Union and North America (e.g. Ocean Literacy campaigns; One World, One Ocean; World Ocean Day, etc.) are linked through complementary networking and coordination activities.
  • Sea Change includes a mobilisation phase which engages schools, citizens, decision makers and industry representatives with the idea that we ALL share one ocean – and that this ocean is fragile.
  • Crucially the legacy of Sea Change, including continuing knowledge sharing with North America, is embedded within the project.

Most European citizens are not aware of the full extent of the medical, economic, social, political and environmental importance of the sea to Europe and indeed to the rest of the world. Many people are not aware of how their day-to-day actions can have a cumulative effect on the health of the ocean – a necessary resource that must be protected for all life on planet Earth to exist.

In other words, European citizens lack a sense of “Ocean Literacy” - an understanding of the ocean’s influence on them and their influence on the ocean.

An Ocean-Literate person:

  • Understands the importance of the ocean to humankind;
  • can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way;
  • is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.

Ultimately, the Sea Change project:

  • Educates and engages a wide range of audiences – from scientists to sailors and pupils to policymakers – not only in discussion about the vital importance of a healthy ocean to the health of humanity, but on their role in maintaining ocean health in the future through simple everyday actions.
  • Leave a legacy of awareness and care for the most important resource on this planet – The Sea.

 

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