200 years ago, we created a new society, with industry as the motor of progress. But despite the great strides we have taken, our modern economic system is running out of steam. This is mainly because we failed to foresee that our planet is only so big, that it has limited resources. 200 years ago we couldn’t have known this; but this has led us to the environmental, economical and social crisis that we see around us today.
We already know what we need to know about the state of our world and our planet. It is time, now, to react, to transform this crisis into an opportunity to invent a new future. As specialists and lovers of the ocean, we firmly believe that a major part of the solution will come from the sea.
© Nausicaa, Bincteux, Neographic
Why? Because the Ocean covers almost three-quarters of the surface of the globe. It is bordered by around 550 000 km of coastline, it has been the cradle of life on Earth and all the planet’s natural equilibrium depend on it. It is home to millions of species, from micro-organisms to whales, it provides mineral and living resources that are vital to humanity, it regulates the climate and contributes to the water cycle; it produces half the oxygen of the air we breathe and it recycles nutrients. It is the final frontier for exploration and discovery and the possibilities it offers to humanity are only limited by our imagination.
Imagine, then, renewable energy from the ocean’s waves and currents, or even a hybrid sailing vessel using the rise and fall of the ocean swell for propulsion; imagine microalgae bioreactors extracting atmospheric CO2, and transforming it in mineral carbon. Picture a global network of protected marine areas restocking the ocean, feeding humanity and supporting sustainable, yet profitable tourist activities. Imagine coral reefs acting as natural breakwaters and protecting coasts and imagine vast expanses of coastal marshlands cleansing and recycling water. Imagine, too, an aquaculture free at last from the limits of natural resources, providing consumers with abundant seafood, in a sustainable way. Think about all the substances recently discovered in marine organisms and which, in the future, will be used to fight against disease.
© Nausicaa, Bincteux, Neographic
Imagine all these benefits as part of sustainable and prosperous new economies, generating millions of jobs and distributed equitably across our planet. Then, you will have imagined the Blue Society.
The Blue Society means believing in the immense potential of the oceans and in the opportunities they offer us to improve our lives. The Blue Society means using the ocean without diminishing its resources. It means believing in our power, to imagine, to create and to innovate; it means believing in learning from each other and it means believing in sustainable development. It means believing in fairness, in a leading role for citizens and in a shared way of thinking. It means believing in a Blue Society. It means believing in Oceankind.
It means that we have to implement efficient governance in which all the parties can intervene.
Finally, it means believing once again in innovation and creativity from human beings.
Let us not waste this chance of re-creating the world we need. Let us believe again in progress and prosperity for everyone.
If somebody tells you it’s unrealistic, please, tell him that it’s those who think that we can go on as we currently live who are unrealistic.
The Sea for Society project is to bring together researchers, policy makers, economic stakeholders and local authorities through dialogue, mutual learning and action in order to create a new concept of the sea and the oceans, the “Blue Society” concept.
200 years ago we created a new society, with industry as the motor of progress. But despite the great strides we have taken, our modern economic system is at a breaking point. The world we live in is a finite one, with limited resources. It is time to act and turn this crisis into an opportunity to reinvent a new future.
Imagine renewable energies coming from ocean’s waves and currents, or even a hybrid sailing vessel using the rise and fall of the ocean swell for propulsion. Imagine microalgae bioreactors extracting atmospheric CO2. Nowadays, half of the molecules in the anticancer drugs comes from the sea, so think about the numerous diseases we could treat thanks to future discoveries. These numerous ideas and projects must be understood by economic stakeholders and policy makers before being adopted. Imagine all these benefits as part of sustainable and prosperous economies, generating millions of jobs and distributed equitably across our planet. Then, you will have imagined the Blue Society.
The project "Sea for Society"
This project is funded by the European Union's DG research and Innovation under the Seventh Framework Programme.
28 European partners from 12 different countries will launch the definition of the Blue Society during the World Oceans Day. These universities, research centres, science museums, Business Innovation Centres, NGOs are brought together in the European Sea For Society project financed by the Directorate General for Research of the European Commission. During more than 3 years, these organizations will together interact and involve researchers, economic stakeholders, local authorities and policy makers on the Blue Society theme.
After the launching of the project at Nausicaà on June 6, 7 and 8, 2012, two important phases will follow with a dialogue phase (end of 2012 and 2013) bringing together researchers, involved actors and citizens about what the sea provides human beings in their daily life. From this phase, the Sea For Society project partners will extract cross-cutting themes from which will be implemented the second phase of mobilization between the spring 2014 and the summer 2015, with the implementation of real actions on the field, a source of inspiration. Finally, a European conference will summarize the conclusions and bring together actors of this new vision of the oceans, which the partners of the Sea For Society call the Blue Society.
This Mutual and Mobilization Learning action plan helps the DG Research and Innovation to identify innovating research themes and governance modes proposed by researchers and local authorities to implement the Blue Society.
The Blue Society is about exploiting the ocean and benefiting from its resources without harming them. It is also about believing in our imagination, in sharing experience and in progress.
List of partners:
1/ Nausicaá - National Sea Centre - France
2/ EurOcean - European Centre for Information on Marine Science and Technology – Portugal
3/ IOPAN – Institute of Oceanology – Polish Academy of Sciences- Poland
4/ AquaTT - Ireland
6/ Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture - Portugal
7/ Spanish Institute of Oceanography - IEO-Spain
8/ Costa Edutainment - Italy
9/ Aquarium Finisterrae (Aquario Finisterra) – Science Museums of Coruna - Mc2 –Spain
10/ Foras na Mara - Marine Institute – National Agency for Marine Research – Ireland
11/ Hellenic Centre for Marine Research – HCMR – IO – Greece
12/ Institute of Marine Research – IMR – Norway
13/ Instituto Superior Técnico - Engineering, Science and Technology – IST – Portugal
14/ Ecsite – The European Network of Science Centres and Museums – Belgium
15/ International Union for Conservation of Nature – European Regional Office - IUCN European Regional Office – Belgium
16/ European Business & Innovation Centre Network – EBN – Belgium
17/ National University of Ireland, Galway – NUIG – Ireland
18/ World Ocean Network – WON – Belgium
19/ Ifremer – French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea –France
20/ Studio K - France
21/ International Union for Conservation of Nature - French committee – IUCN French Committee – France
22/ International Union for Conservation of Nature – Spanish committee - IUCN Spanish committee – Spain
24/ Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences – RBINS – Brussels – Belgium
25/ National Natural History Museum – MNHN – France
26/ Natural History Museum – NHM – UK
25/ WHOWHATWHEREWHENWHY (W5) – Interactive Discovery Centre - W5 – Norther Ireland28/ Flanders Marine Institute Marine and Coastal Research and Management - VLIZ-Belgium