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Gli oceani e l’educazione, i nostri più grandi alleati nella lotta contro la crisi climatica

Il 4 giugno 2022, Sky TG24 Live a Venezia ha affrontato il tema dell’importanza degli oceani. Gli intervistati, Ana Luiza M. Thompson-Flores – Direttrice dell’Ufficio Regionale UNESCO per la Scienza e la Cultura in Europa, Peter Thomson – Inviato Speciale delle Nazioni Unite per gli Oceani e Giovanni Soldini – specialista della navigazione in solitario, hanno discusso della vasta influenza dell’Oceano sull’umanità, concordando sul fatto che il momento di agire è adesso. Le interviste hanno evidenziato come l’oceano stesso sia il nostro più grande alleato nella lotta contro il cambiamento climatico, ma hanno suggerito che lo diventerà solo attraverso l’educazione della Generazione Oceano.

Per vedere l’intervista completa cliccare qui.

Per vedere l’articolo originale cliccare qui.

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Sky TG24 Live In Venezia event, “Planet Ocean in danger”

As the fight against climate change begins to take precedence on the world stage, UNESCO has stressed the importance of the ocean as an ally. It absorbs excess heat radiated by greenhouse gases and sequestrates around 30% of the annual human activity produced CO2. Furthermore, oceanic organisms, such as algae and phytoplankton, account for between 50-80% of the world’s oxygen production and the ocean acts as the planet’s chief climate regulator.

Without the services provided by the ocean, the average global temperature could exceed 100oC and make life on Earth impossible. However, the ocean, the real lung of the world, is rapidly changing as a result of human activity. It is consistently under stress from humanity’s overexploitation of its living and non-living resources, which has grossly detrimental effects on marine ecosystems, biodiversity and chemical balances.

Giovanni Soldini, after a lifetime in the ocean, puts this into perspective. The sailor recalls that when he was a child, the ocean faced tar as its greatest threat. Humanity has made huge progress in solving this issue, but now it faces the ever-looming plastic crisis and its ubiquitousness across the ocean. From experience, Soldini went on to say that whilst sailing in some of the remotest parts of the ocean, he frequently spotted floating plastic, a stark reminder of the current state of the ocean, considering that 70% of plastic debris does not float and that it only began to be introduced a few decades ago.

Although humans are becoming more and more aware of the hazards plastic poses to life, its presence in our ocean is continually increasing. Plastic pollution remains one of the main causes of marine species extinction, health problems in almost all organisms, including humans, and the destruction of our ecosystems.

 

The Ocean holds the keys to an equitable and sustainable planet

Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, underlined the increasingly threatened health of the ocean as of utmost priority for the upcoming UN Ocean Conference (Lisbon, Portugal; 27 June – 1 July) – a crucial step in the success of the Ocean Decade and where Ocean Action is expected to take large leaps forward.

Ocean protection is a fundamental part of sustainable development, highlighted by its inclusion in the 2030 Agenda (SDG 14 – Life below Water) and the Ocean Decade. Efforts are in place to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather worldwide ocean stakeholders behind a common framework; one that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for the sustainable development of the ocean. All this with the common goal of delivering “the ocean we need for the future we want”.

 

Ocean protection is for everyone. Anyone can participate, even children

Ana Luiza M. Thompson-Flores explained the role of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in ocean protection and education of natural sciences and culture, highlighting its focal point positioning perched in the Mediterranean basin where humans, land and ocean collide.

The Bureau hosts a component of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), which works to support ocean research institutions around the world to strengthen public engagement and promote ocean literacy. The ultimate aim is to establish a greater universal understanding of what we can do to protect the health of our ocean. Ocean action must and can only start with improved ocean education, fundamentally showing the world how to make peace with the ocean.

The many positive effects of the ocean in maintaining human life are generally unknown to many, which is where UNESCO and particularly its Regional Bureau and IOC project office in Venice play a crucial role. Kindergarten of the Lagoon, a new Venice-based educational project in partnership with the Prada Group, built on promoting Ocean Literacy principles and interaction with the environment. The initiative, through outdoor activities and interactions with the local community, fosters a close connection between children and nature – reconnecting them with the importance of the lagoon system in the context of the environment and the city.

Connecting with the ocean and becoming future protagonists of the Generation Ocean

As the impacts of human activities and climate change continue to threaten the planet’s health, the importance of sustainability must be underlined, especially from an early age. The Ocean Literacy principles lying at the core of this initiative will enable children aged 3 to 6 years old to connect with the ocean and become the future protagonists of the Generation Ocean.

The Kindergarten of the Lagoon project will teach children to understand and respect the environment they live in, leading to the education of their families and friends alike through a domino effect. The project in Venice is a pilot, and on success, is hoped to be replicated worldwide in coastal and landlocked cities, teaching people of all backgrounds the close relationship between humankind and the ocean.

The ocean does not belong to us but actually the opposite. There is a need for greater knowledge and awareness on its state and the changes it is undergoing. By first understanding the issues at hand and educating the population from the ground-up, we can begin the needed action and see a greater implementation of solutions to save the ocean. This will come through understanding the mutual influence of both humanity and ocean, stimulating a sense of collective responsibility and ultimately, beginning the road to save our greatest ally in the fight against climate change.

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