Friday June 8th is World Oceans Day, and the salty homes to 90% of the planet’s living biomass are in peril. Destructive coastal development, industrial agricultural practices, and exploitative fishing practices degrade the fisheries that currently feed millions of people globally and that support the livelihoods of 200 million people. Together, they threaten coastal and marine ecosystems that sustain 250,000 known species, sequester one-quarter of the carbon emitted globally, and provide spiritual uplift through scenic vistas, natural beauty, and recreation opportunities. Nutrient and organic pollution alters ecosystem structure, causes dead zones, and presents risks to human health. Climate change poses a range of risks, such as coral reef bleaching, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise, all of which will affect coastal and marine resources and the people and economies that depend on them.
In the face of these threats and challenges, we are encouraged by initiatives like the World Bank’s Global Partnership for the Oceans, and, closer to home, the progress being made to protect ocean ecosystems and the livelihoods that derive from them in places like California and Oregon. Here at Ecotrust, one way we seek to foster the resilience of our oceans is through the development of tools that help people make better decisions about the ocean. Many of these tools are built using open source software, because we believe in sharing ideas and making them easily adaptable and scalable.
So when an upcoming workshop called for our thoughts on the following questions about new tools for ocean resilience, we thought, let’s ask all of you to chime in with suggestions.
Here, then, is the first-ever Ecotrust Oceans Day Challenge:
- What are the three most challenging problems facing the oceans that, if solved, are most likely to improve ocean health and biodiversity?
- What are examples of barriers to knowledge and data that exacerbate these problems?
- What would a successful tool look like that reduces these barriers?
Please submit your ideas here by 2 p.m. Pacific Time (9 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday, June 12th.
Ecotrust staff will then pick the top three responses, who will receive ocean themed prizes and recognition on our website. We will also take the three winning contributions into upcoming workshops and planning meetings, with full attribution, of course, and the opportunity to partner with us on any projects that result.