World Oceans Day 2020

In recognition of World Oceans Day, which falls on 8 June, WMU marked the occasion in a variety of ways through participation in events, special lectures, and an ocean clean-up.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University (WMU) provided a  video message for a World Ocean Day webinar organized by Formas, Universeum, SMHI, SIDA, Marine and Water Authority, and the Marine Environment Institute. The event focused on the Swedish agenda for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development of Marine Research.

In her message, President Doumbia-Henry highlighted the important role that WMU plays in educating maritime and ocean leaders from around the world who are equipped to address and support achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Goal 13 focused on climate change, and Goal 14 focused on the ocean. “We stand at a transformative time in human history with rapid advancements and unprecedented challenges. It is more important than ever that we mitigate the impacts of human activities on the environment, and the oceans in particular, not least because the global ocean is fundamental to life on earth,” said President Doumbia-Henry.

Ocean Literacy Lecture

A special Ocean Literacy lecture on “Uniting Action Worldwide to Protect Our Home” will be delivered via video conferencing from Tasmania by WMU’s newest post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Rachel Kelly, with Associate Professor Mary Wisz, Acting Head of the Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management Specialization (OSGM). The lecture focuses on peoples’ perceptions and values of the ocean, and how to better connect people to ocean spaces and marine resources. 

Dr. Kelly emphasizes that Internal collaboration is key to improving ocean sustainability and that the OSGM cohort are an international group of students from twelve diverse maritime nations who can have a real impact on policies and actions in their home countries. “Ocean literacy is not only knowing about the ocean and ocean issues - it also infers a sense of connection to the ocean and the development of pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours,” said Dr. Kelly. The lecture also provides the opportunity for the students to share their diverse knowledge and experiences of ocean culture and learning from around the world.

Ocean Clean-up

In what has become an annual event, WMU students will again join forces with the City of Malmö and the SEA-U Marine Science Center on cleaning up Malmö's coastline later this week in honor of World Oceans Day. Due to social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s clean-up will take place a bit differently. SEA-U will bring the clean-up equipment (clean gloves, large forceps, plastic bags, scales) to WMU for the students to use in cleaning up the canal area around the WMU Building. 

WMU’s participation in the clean-up is a student-led initiative organized by the Student Council and the OSGM specialization students. In regard to WMU participating in the clean-up again this year, Associate Professor Mary Wisz, Acting Head of the Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management Specialization, said, “This World Ocean Day initiative has become a WMU tradition. It supports student morale and ocean awareness and is a way for the students to show their appreciation to the City of Malmö as well as their respect for the Ocean.” 

About World Oceans Day

The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day annually on 8 June as an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Since its founding, WMU has contributed to sustainable use of the ocean by focusing on the implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments to reduce accidents and ship-source pollution. Building on this strong foundation, ocean-related matters have become part of WMU’s mandate and are now incorporated across all degree programmes.

Edited 10 June 2020 to add the following thoughts from students who participated in the special Ocean Literacy lecture on “Uniting Action Worldwide to Protect Our Home”

Faculty and student participants in the special Ocean Literacy lecture on “Uniting Action Worldwide to Protect Our Home".

"So many people around the world have the perception that the ocean is infinite, lacking the knowledge of what effects their actions have on the ocean. Millions of people do not quite understand what role the ocean plays in our daily lives and what the consequences will be if it does not remain healthy, productive and biodiverse. Due to this lack of understanding, ocean literacy is not top priority and therefore, our ability to preserve this valuable resource is compromised."  
- Sonia Ferreira (South Africa)

"The future of ocean sustainability is about changing behaviors. There is a barrier between knowing and doing. Most people think ocean literacy is just about educators and scientists, but it is more trans-disciplinary. We also need good communicators and decision makers to come together and sit at one table to ensure that what we teach is what we do. It starts with individuals and then it grows. It's a collective, behavioral change."  
- Eric Ferrancullo (Philippines)

"Those who have the knowledge and the understanding of the need for the sustainability of the ocean do not play an active role in the final decision making of issues relating to oceans. On the other hand, those who do not appreciate and understand it are those who sit in front and take decisions relating to oceans, so ocean matters will be pushed to the back door. Therefore, it is important for those of us who have ocean understanding and knowledge to push ourselves to the front doors of decision making."
- Marvin Bang-Gesina (Ghana)

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