In honor of UN World Oceans Day (8 June), and in collaboration with Oceanic Global, we are excited to launch our new SDG 14 hub, dedicated to life below water. This day is about celebrating the ocean and its importance to the planet and our lives, while raising awareness about the many threats it faces.
Here, learn more about Dr. Amanda Bates' thoughts on public engagement, as a former science educator, and how working across disciplines and industries is key to success against SDG14 going forward.
More than 60% of the science faculty at my university engage in research and education on how the global ocean sustains humanity and Earth’s life support system through fisheries and aquaculture, essential cycling of nutrients and energy, and societal interaction with the ocean. Research includes focusing on sustaining and enhancing food production from the sea, increasing safe and sustainable operations on the water and in coastal communities, and engaging in research to help ensure a healthy ocean for future generations.
I believe the challenge is that there isn’t a “most” relevant way. Instead, a toolbox is required to observe, protect, and restore, and we need a global community to do so.
I think this questions needs to be flipped around. Scientists need to take time to engage with policy platforms and development processes. We also need to take time to form relationships with policy-makers – this means trust and time.
I was a science educator for years and believe very strongly in outreach and public education. Healthy oceans are for humanity, both now and in the future. The life within oceans produces much of the oxygen we breathe, healthy food, and bio-chemicals that can cure disease – it is critical that we engage with our society to communicate how important healthy ocean systems are.
In the short-term my research group is identifying methods that cross scales and taxa to assess the capacity of ecological communities to cope with existing and future drivers of global change. My research quantifies biodiversity in time and space with relevant environmental data and the physiological tolerances of species. I transform physiological data into predictive tools incorporating both exposure and species’ sensitivities to global change drivers.
In the long-term I hope to inspire new generations of scientists to work across disciplines, with policy makers, educators and artists, to embrace the challenges of big data, and to identify new strategies to observe our ocean and support healthy oceans.
All our interviews reflect the views and opinions of the interviewees.
About Amanda Bates