Oceans and society

6. Oceans and Society

Feedbacks between human and ocean health

Summary

The concentration of human population along coastlines has far-reaching effects on ocean and societal health. The oceans provide benefits to humans such as food, coastal protection and improved mental well-being, but can also impact negatively via natural disasters. At the same time, humans influence ocean health, for example, via coastal development or through environmental stewardship. Given the strong feedbacks between ocean and human health there is a need to promote desirable interactions, while minimising undesirable interactions. To this end, we articulate two scenarios for 2030. First, Business-as-Usual, named ‘Command and (out of) Control’, focuses on the anticipated future based on our current trajectory. Second, a more sustainable scenario called ‘Living and Connecting’, emphasises the development of interactions between oceans and society consistent with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We describe a potential pathway to achieving the ‘Living and Connecting’ scenario, centred on improving marine citizenship, achieving a more equitable distribution of power among stakeholders, and more equitable access to resources and opportunities. The constituent actions of this pathway can be categorised into four groups: (i) improved approaches to science and health communication that account for society’s diverse values, beliefs and worldviews, (ii) a shift towards more trusted relationships among stakeholders to enable two-way knowledge exchange, (iii) economic incentives that encourage behavioural changes necessary for achieving desired sustainability outcomes, and (iv) stronger regulations that simultaneously focus on ocean and human health. We contend that these changes will provide improved outcomes for both oceans and society over the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science.

Infographic

Lead Investigators

Kirsty-Nash

Kirsty Nash


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Ingrid van Putten


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CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere / CMS

Anchor

Joanna Vince


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School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania / CMS

Co-Authors

Meet our fellow team members who contribute to the success of this project.

Anna Farmery


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Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, University of Wollongong / CMS
Jenn Scott

Jenn Scott


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School of Psychology, University of Tasmania
Karen-Alexander

Karen Alexander


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Kimberley Norris


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School of Psychological Sciences, University of Tasmania

Delphi Ward


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Sierra Ison


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Linda Murray


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Massey University
Chris Cvitanovic

Chris Cvitanovic


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Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University / CMS

Rachel Kelly


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CMS

Silvana Bettiol


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University of Tasmania, Medical Science
Lucy Robinson

Lucy Robinson


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Oceans Institute & Oceans Graduate School, The University of Western Australia / CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
Mary Mackay

Mary Mackay


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CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere / CMS

Emily Flies


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School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania

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