“The ocean is invisible to most people, and it is easy to ignore something you never see. I think an important step in achieving SDG 14 is to continue and expand the work being done to make the ocean visible and awe inspiring to folks who normally don’t interact with it,” says Kevin Noone, Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University.

Kevin Noone’s expertise lies within issues related to climate change and the oceans. According to him, to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, we need to understand the multiple, connected risks to the oceanic environment in a holistic way. We also need to create management plans that optimise the benefits we derive from the oceans and minimise the negative impacts we have against several factors simultaneously. These plans need to be consistent across scales from local to global.

“We need to become much smarter and more mature about how we approach managing the ocean ecosystems from which a lot of our prosperity is derived,” says Kevin Noone.

A couple years back, before the adoption of the SDGs, Kevin han his colleagues Ussif Rashid and Sumaila Robert Diaz, did an analysis of threats to the global oceans, their economic consequences, and ways to avoid or solve them. It resulted in a book on the subject Managing Ocean Environments in a Changing Climate. The book summarizes summarizes the current state of several threats to the global oceans.

The editors have engaged leading scientists in a number of areas, such as fisheries and marine ecosystems, ocean chemistry, marine biogeochemical cycling, oceans and climate change, and economics, to examine the threats to the oceans both individually and collectively, provide gross estimates of the economic and societal impacts of these threats, and deliver high-level recommendations.

“The Jaques Cousteau television specials I saw as a kid had a definite influence on my own choice of profession and even on the way I view the environment. I would love to see more of these kinds of efforts in 21st century formats aimed at inspiring rational, evidence-based, respectful stewardship of the ocean we share,” comments Kevin Noone.

 

Text by Ida Brattström, Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN) Northern Europe