We all have an ocean story, whether we live 100 yards from the beach or 1,000 miles from the nearest coastline. Maybe it was the first time you dipped your toes in the ocean and felt a sense of freedom exploring the blue expanse. Perhaps you have fond memories of annual summer trips to the beach with family and friends. If you’ve taken a surf lesson or pursue surfing as a passion, you’ve certainly felt the power of the ocean as you dance (gracefully or otherwise) between crashing waves.
Lifetime highlights, such as snorkeling in world-renowned reefs or along majestic creatures like whale sharks, and the mesmerizing simplicity of everyday moments—watching the sun dip into the horizon over the ocean’s edge—inspire awe and connect us to the blue planet that we inhabit. In fact, perhaps a better name for our planet would be “ocean” given that 70 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by the ocean, which feeds billions, delivers oxygen, and regulates the global climate to sustain life on earth.
Our Shared Seas: Resource to Learn More
While the ocean can feel limitless when looking out onto the horizon, understanding what’s happening below the water’s surface shouldn’t feel like a vast endeavor. Our Shared Seas was created to provide straightforward synthesis and sensemaking of the ocean’s status and trends. With this user-friendly guide, individuals can make better, faster, and more informed decisions to help protect our blue planet.
- Actionable insights from Meg Caldwell, deputy director of oceans at the Packard Foundation, with perspectives on promising recent developments in marine conservation
- Individual chapters compiling the latest research on climate change and the ocean, marine fisheries, aquaculture, pollution and development, and Marine Protected Areas
- An original landscape assessment of private and development aid funding for marine conservation globally
All of the materials on the Our Shared Seas site are open-access, so users are welcome and encouraged to download any graphs or files for their own purposes. There are individual charts, primers, and PowerPoint decks which you can save individually or in batches.
Translating Information to Action
Resources like Our Shared Seas empower informed decision-making so that ocean stewards and champions from all backgrounds can act collectively. If our shared goal is for the ocean to support life 50 years from now—and 500 years after that—then we depend on sound information today to bring about durable change on the water.
For individual donors, the Our Shared Seas platform allows users to quickly get up to speed on the latest threats and changes to the ocean. One of our guiding principles is to serve as a trusted, unbiased source of information; as such, we have not provided recommendations on organizations or issues to support. However, we have a solid understanding of the most promising solutions to protect the ocean, and respectable organizations across all geographies are working to implement these solutions.
For your own giving journey, we recommend that you choose the right level of engagement for your needs. For some, a self-directed journey is the right fit to engage with issues of personal interest. For others who may prefer more tailored support in understanding the landscape of interventions and actors, advisors like CEA Consulting and several others included in the Giving Compass Philanthropy Resource Guide can provide helpful expertise to support strategic giving.
In thinking about translating information to action for ocean conservation, Caldwell sums it up perfectly: “We know enough now to act. We have enough information at hand. And what’s more, we actually know which kinds of solutions are really effective.”
Original contribution by Emily Peterson, Senior Associate at CEA Consulting.