Participatory Ocean Conservation
Ocean conservation is different than other types of nature conservation. With land-based conservation, one can observe the forests, wetlands, or meadows that are being preserved. With riverine conservation, rivers run through every community and each resident has at least some familiarity with the rivers and streams in their region.
Oceans are in a category by themselves. Oceans are vast and the majority of their value is hidden under water. This phenomenon has a couple of key implications. First, it means that it is more challenging to raise awareness about the threats to ocean health; after all, it is hard to visualize something like ocean acidification and the impact that has on fisheries and marine mammals. Second, it makes it more challenging to get significant public input from a diverse group of constituents for a more participatory process around ocean governance.
For these reasons, Sustainable Economies Consulting (SEC), Lacy Consulting Services (LCS), and Healthy Ocean Coalition (HOC) are collaborating to create a strategic plan for HOC that includes conservation and human wellbeing goals while fully embedding principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The challenges facing ocean health are substantial. The loss of ocean habitat and biodiversity negatively affects ecosystems, and also has implications for human communities in terms of provision of seafood, access to recreation, and ability to maintain commerce. Because of the complexity, SEC and LCS have had to develop new tools to aid in the creation of targeted goals, strategies and metrics, that will serve as a roadmap to success moving forward.
Working with HOC is a valuable opportunity to make a real difference around ocean health and help elevate more voices in the process.
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