Contributing to our society
The ocean covers more than 70% of the earth's surface. In spite of great discoveries, in spite of explorers and countless scientific expeditions, in spite of the obvious interest of the public, the ocean remains poorly known.
Whole sections of its biological diversity, its interactions with the continents and the atmosphere, its water masses and their circulation, its subsoil, its geological and human history are unexplored, unknown.
The scientific knowledge collected on the oceans is itself still insufficiently shared and disseminated, including in coastal societies. Yet many challenges are at stake that will affect current generations as well as their descendants.
Challenges that can be threats to biodiversity, climate, pollution, coastal densification of cities and countries. Challenges that are also opportunities for new resources, new jobs and new energies. Threats and opportunities demand our attention, our expertise and our action.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO promotes "access to ocean knowledge for all", "ocean literacy" and precisely the knowledge of the influence of the ocean on societies, but also the reverse influence of humans on the ocean. This ambition is at the heart of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDO) No. 14 "to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources". It is the first of the services that the Institute of the Sea renders to society: sharing knowledge.
The blue economy is generated by human activities on the oceans, in the oceans, under the oceans, along the oceans. In the world, it now exceeds 1500 billion dollars per year. The OECD estimates that it will double in the next 10 years.
In France, which has the world's second largest maritime space (11 million km2, 22 times the surface area of France on land), it represents 88 billion euros and 350,000 jobs. An additional 250,000 jobs if we add coastal tourism in France's 883 coastal communities and its 473 marinas.
This powerful dynamic is therefore a promise of development, prosperity and wealth. It also brings with it risks that must be anticipated, characterized and contained. Only a multidisciplinary approach can meet these challenges and this is the second of the services that the Ocean Institute provides to the society.