Currently, there is a growing global ocean movement connecting ocean science and education for sustainable development. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is a powerhouse on this matter and is truly committed to the worldwide promotion of Ocean Literacy. Ocean literacy is more than just educating or informing the public and the marine and maritime stakeholders about the importance of oceans. Ocean literacy, via the use of behavioral change methods and by adopting a system approach, aims at facilitating the creation of an ocean literate society. Ocean Literacy is an essential component of the Ocean Science Decade (see above). The fifth objective of the Ocean Science decade asks to transfer the scientific and technical capacity of the ocean use to marine technology, training and education, and increased ocean literacy so that all can participate in, and benefit from.
‘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’ (EU statement). From the pioneer work started in the US in 2001, Ocean literacy remains a work in progress. The first European Conference on Ocean Literacy dates back to 2012, followed by a statement of the marine scientific community to urge a European consensus on ocean literacy (McDonough et al. 2012). The goal of this track is to educate European citizens to realize how their well-being depends on the health of our Ocean.
- The graduated student understands the Ocean Literacy principles and the importance of ocean to humankind;
- The graduated student is able to communicate about the importance of the ocean for humankind in a meaningful way
- The graduated student can make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resource