#oceanliteracy4all Understanding the human influence on the ocean and the ocean influence on humans


Ocean literacy is defined as the understanding of human influence on the ocean and the ocean influence on humans. Ocean literacy is not only about increasing awareness on the state of the ocean, but it is about providing tools to transform ocean knowledge into actions.

Ocean literacy is not only about increasing awareness on the state of the ocean, but it is about providing tools and approaches to transform ocean knowledge into actions to promote ocean sustainability. Its success will depend, on the one hand, on our capacity to enhance the science-society-policy interface, and, on the other hand, on empowering a wide range of stakeholders, i.e. communities and networks of business, universities, research centres, and civic groups to share responsibility in addressing urgent threats that are causing a decline in ocean health.

Ocean literacy is a fundamental tool to enhance ocean knowledge and to encourage citizens and stakeholders to have an active role in the implementation of sustainable actions on both individual and collective levels. While at the beginning, ocean literacy was developed for the specific purpose to fit the U.S. science curriculum for K12, it has then been adopted and adapted to a broader context.

Nowadays, Ocean literacy is seen as a way to advance sustainable production practices, to develop sound public marine policy, to promote a more responsible citizenry, and to encourage young people to start a career in the blue economy or in marine science. Ocean literacy as a concept and approach is radically evolving from being a tool to be applied in formal education and training contexts to a tool and an approach for society as a whole.

Open access to ocean information, increased interactions between the academic and societal actor communities, and ocean literacy for all should capacitate all citizens and stakeholders to have a more responsible and informed behaviour towards the ocean and its resources. The “Ocean Literacy for All: A toolkit” was published in December 2017.

The two-volume manual produced by UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Venice, Italy) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is the result of joint work and contributions by members of a global partnership on ocean literacy led by the IOC. The publication provides educators and learners worldwide innovative tools, methods and resources to understand the complex ocean processes and functions and, as well, to alert them on the most urgent ocean issues.

The toolkit presents the essential scientific principles and information needed to understand the cause-effect relationship between individual and collective behavior, and the impacts that threaten the ocean health. Trust is that it will inspire citizens, scientists, educators and learners to take greater personal responsibility for the ocean, as well as work through partnerships and networks, sharing ideas and experiences and developing new approaches and initiatives in support of ocean literacy.

The manual was tested in 2019 in schools of the UNESCO Network of Schools of 35 countries around the world. 84% of the teachers declared that they would recommend the toolkit to their peers, and 67% said that they will use the toolkit in their work regularly. Link :