We Are Ocean: Accelerating Ocean Literacy

A short new film highlights the work of We Are Ocean and reflects on the importance of Ocean Literacy. Watch and share the film to learn tips on engaging the public with ocean protection and help encourage Ocean Literacy in this UN Ocean Decade.
28 apr 2022

We Are Ocean is a collective of organisations brought together by the shared objective of increasing Ocean Literacy through effective collaboration. Since its creation in 2016, We Are Ocean has brought together organisations from different sectors, with varying skillsets, to get a richness and diversity of solutions and ideas to accelerate Ocean Literacy and improve Ocean health. The new film, commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, highlights the achievements of We Are Ocean’s work and flagship projects, such as World Ocean Day for Schools and We Are Ocean Summits.



Why is Ocean Literacy important?

It’s the UN Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development – a shared, global effort from scientists, NGOs, philanthropists, and others from now until 2030 to overcome ten challenges identified by the UN for the health of our Ocean. For the decade to be a success, we need more people to be Ocean Literate.

It’s important we live in a society that understands the importance of the Ocean to humankind. Ocean Literary is about talking about the Ocean in meaningful ways, so we can all make informed and responsible decisions about the Ocean and its resources.


How can more people become Ocean Literate?

The Ocean has been studied for hundreds of years by scientists who have collected masses of data, but presenting worrying facts and figures is not the way to engage everyone with the Ocean.

We Are Ocean is all about using people’s emotional connection to the Ocean to support Ocean Literacy. We use enjoyment, love, and creativity to help people understand why a healthy Ocean is important for them and to help them act in ways that are positive for the Ocean.


How does We Are Ocean work?

We believe that no single organisation can solve the problems affecting the health of the Ocean. We need to break boundaries around normal ways of working.

We are ideas-led and hold design hacks. After coming up with the question we want answered, we hand over to a room of inspired people who use their energy to move the project forward. This ‘heart-based’ approach makes sure all aspects of our programme, initiatives and activities are filtered through people’s emotional connection with the Ocean.


What has We Are Ocean achieved so far?

We Are Ocean has achieved two summits, bringing hundreds of people together to discuss inspiring projects connecting humans to the Ocean and to explore how we can all accelerate Ocean Literacy together.

We have launched WAVES, a brilliant communications toolkit that places emotional connection to the Ocean at its heart. Instead of ‘what’ should be communicated, it focuses on ‘how’ we should communicate. We encourage organisations to use the framework to help improve scientific communications and deepen people’s connection to the Ocean.

We installed interactive billboards around the UK during the rainy months, to remind people that almost all our weather patterns are influenced by the Ocean and raise public awareness of how the Oceans affect us and how we affect the Ocean.

We transformed World Ocean Day to be like World Book Day across the globe. Together we aimed for it to be fun, and an opportunity for children to express their love for the Ocean. 5,000 schools took part, mainly in the UK, with more schools from around the World taking part digitally.


What’s coming up for We Are Ocean in the future?

World Ocean Day for Schools takes place on 8 June, and this year the campaign aims to involve even more schools globally through digital activities and with a broader theme focusing on all blue spaces. Schools can also participate in the activities throughout the year, so it’s not a one-off day. Look out for information in May on how to get involved.

We’ll continue supporting the UN Decade and its activities, bringing more people into the network who, like us, love the Ocean. It’s important we change how networks and organisations work together because we can’t have a healthy Ocean unless networks like We Are Ocean exist.

Catherine Ansell is Communications Officer at Ocean Conservation Trust, part of the We Are Ocean collective. To get involved or find out more about We Are Ocean, visit weareocean.blue.

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