Transforming the Blue Economy is a purpose-driven collaboration created by the World Ocean Observatory, a 501c.3 non-profit, and the New England Ocean Cluster that endeavors to advance and modernize New England’s ocean-minded industries through education and community engagement; by bridging the gap between capacity and need; and by assisting in the creation and implementation of sustainable and innovative enterprises.
According to the World Bank and Conservation International, the Blue Economy can be defined as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem. It includes economic benefits that may not be directly quantified and marketed, such as carbon storage and environmental resiliency, coastal protection, cultural values and the preservation of biodiversity.
“The way forward is an economic development of the oceans that is both inclusive and environmentally sound: it should be undertaken in a manner that does not deplete the natural resources that societies — including local communities — depend on in the long term. To balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in relation to oceans are the driving considerations behind Blue Economy.”
Read more: World Bank Blog
A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Over the past 16 years, the World Ocean Observatory has advocated for the ocean through communications, as a place of exchange for ocean information, educational service, and engagement by a growing global community of Citizens of the Ocean. W2O has developed a comprehensive website with over 2.5 million annual visitors, an internationally-syndicated weekly radio feature and podcast, an aggregated video channel, an online forum for ocean solutions, a digital magazine, profiles of ocean exemplars, downloadable exhibits, and relentless social media (over 865,000 Followers on FaceBook alone). It has been a gratifying passage, and we are grateful to all for generous and ongoing support, but it is not enough: the urgency of ocean need remains, and critical challenges demand energy, imagination, and innovation.
The ocean has never been more challenged, nor more essential to our future than it is today. How can we do more? Advocacy through information and communication is not enough; we can no longer merely observe and educate; we must act. And so, as an expanded expression of our W2O mission, we are compelled to invent innovative solutions and seek novel partnerships that will succeed in breaking conventional behavior through the encouragement and introduction of innovative and disruptive outcomes for the future. We call this shift W2.O.
In the years to come, we will be expanding and imagining new solutions and relationships. We will continue our partnership with UMaine and the UMaine Law School in the Arctic Futures Institute, pursuing research and cultural projects in collaboration with other Maine organizations and the National University and National Museum, in Greenland and other regions in the North. We will launch Seafood/Commons, a traceability software system for global seafood distribution. We will develop World Ocean Explorer, a virtual aquarium as a transformative educational program for ocean literacy.
And we will join with the New England Ocean Cluster to expand community engagement, education, innovation, and amplified public understanding of the interaction between the ocean environment and social development in a new program –
Transforming the Blue Economy – advancing trade of sustainable marine resources, renewable ocean energy, new sea products, maritime skills; and other activities that contribute to the future of the ocean, its biodiversity, and its contribution to our community. The sea connects all things.
We hope you can join us in supporting this new initiative in 2021 and beyond.
Peter Neill, Director
World Ocean Observatory