14 June 2016

Communicating the importance of our oceans

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Shane M Hanlon

June is National Oceans Month in the U.S. 8 June was World Oceans Day. In DC, last week was Capitol Hill Ocean Week. Everywhere you look, people are celebrating the wonder and value of the oceans. That got me thinking, we should have a post about communicating science that is conducted in, on, or about the oceans. And since there are/have been so many ocean-related science events and initiatives, I’d like to provide a list of some of those opportunities for y’all to see how fellow scientists reach out to talk about the oceans.

TSCWorld Oceans Day

Every day is a celebration of something. National Ice Cream Day (17 July), Winnie the Pooh Day (18 January), and Celebrate those whose last names begin with Z day (yes, a real thing, 1 January), are just a few of the countless (unconventional) holidays that have been created over the years. Some more recognizable (environmental) ones are Earth Day (22 April), Arbor Day (last Friday in April), and Bike-to-Work Day (or at least for me as a bicyclist commuter, third Friday in May). A relatively new addition to this list is World Oceans Day. It was proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit and officially recognized in 2008. Each year events are held around the world to raise awareness and appreciation for the world’s oceans. Worldoceansday.org is always a great repository for what’s going on where you live. You can also submit your own event. For example, this year on World Oceans Day, The Story Collider* had a show in Washington D.C. entitled Surfacing where all the stories were about “keeping your head above water.” The show was held with help from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and was advertised through worldoceansday.org. Many events happened all over the world centered around disseminating the importance, value, and wonder of the oceans to broad audiences.


NMSFCapitol Hill Ocean Week

Every June, hundreds of the top ocean communication and policy professionals and scientists from around the world descend on DC for Capitol Hill Ocean Week, or CHOW. Sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, CHOW brings together hundreds of policymakers, industry leaders, and scientists, to shape marine policy and provoke conversation about ocean and coastal issues. CHOW is where the rubber meets the road of sorts with science and scientists shaping policy with policymakers – a true testament to the power of science communication.


Reddit_logo-2National Oceans Month

June is National Oceans Month. In addition to annual events like World Oceans Day and CHOW, AGU is hosting a Reddit Science AMA with AGU President and Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography Dr. Margaret Leinen. She will be available to answer your questions about Observing the Oceans on Tuesday, 21 June from 12-1 EST. More info here.

These are just some of the opportunities to learn about the oceans. We’re already half way through June so be sure to check out what’s going on in your region!


Shane M Hanlon is an AGU Sharing Science Specialist