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Hundreds of kilometres away from any sea, ocean or sandy beach, students from countries such as the Czech Republic have been discovering their connection with the marine world.
While Europe's landlocked states are understandably not so preoccupied with seas and oceans, camps run by members of Ecsite—the European network of science centres and museums—have helped interpret video stories about the oceans in local, often-beachless contexts.
Topics - Blue - Something - Ocean - Literacy—knowledge
And although the topics they're discussing are, to many, as distant as the deep blue, this is something that advocates of ocean literacy—knowledge about the role and importance of the oceans—are hoping to change.
Researchers from a project called Sea Change want to fundamentally change the relationship between Europeans and the ocean by empowering them to take direct and sustainable action as ocean-literate citizens.
Jon - Parr - Director - UK - Marine
Jon Parr, deputy director of the UK's Marine Biological Association, who coordinates the project, gives the example of the Europe-wide Crab Watch initiative, which encourages people to search for crabs on beaches to help them engage with how the oceans are changing, and how it could impact them.
'Crab Watch has been great in getting people involved and aware that they can help by reporting invasive crab species—now with the Crab Watch app—and other innovative ideas have also arisen, bottom-up, with people inputting ideas,' he said.
Project - End - Years - Research - Action
As the project comes to an end after three years of research and action aimed at public, government, and educational behavioural change, Parr says Sea Change has reaped some useful insights into how to engage people.
'We've had clear results working with the networks like Ecsite, which have all run quite successful citizen engagement programmes,' said Parr. 'But what has also been very effective is having partners taking concrete local action on the ground that communities can (become) involved with—and that this is also something that media also pick up on locally.'
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