Ocean Literacy – A Reciprocal Relationship

The health of the ocean affects our daily lives. Our day to day actions affect the health and sustainability of the ocean.

What is ocean literacy?

Ocean literacy is defined as ‘the understanding of human influence on the Ocean and the Ocean’s influence on people’. It is about our reciprocal relationship with the ocean. This relationship is involved, complex and holistic.

The Ocean Literacy Framework identifies seven key principles to understand:

  • The earth has one big ocean with many features.
  • The ocean and life in the ocean shapes the features on earth.
  • The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
  • The ocean makes earth habitable.
  • The ocean supports a great diversity of life.
  • Humans and the ocean are inextricably interconnected.
  • The ocean is largely unexplored.

What is Canadian ocean literacy?

The ocean suits a multidisciplinary approach and Canadians broadly support including more than science in defining Canadian ocean literacy. As Canadians we are still learning to respect diverse competencies and ways of knowing and specific Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, counter our tragic history of racism and residential school legacies to provide opportunities to decolonize ocean literacy. A vital difference between American, European and other international versions of ocean literacy is that Canadians are working to responsively value and respect Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. These laws and ways of knowing and sustaining span very long time frames and bring different worldviews into Canadian definitions of ocean literacy. Canadians look to diverse Indigenous peoples for important leadership in further developing what Canadian ocean literacy means. – CaNOE

For a more detailed look at Canadian ocean literacy, read What is Canadian Ocean Literacy?

Where can you learn more?

CaNOE (Canadian Network for Ocean Education) Educational Resources Library and Directory of People, Places and Projects

Ocean Literacy for All: A Toolkit

Ocean Literacy Portal – international resources

Ocean Wise Courses – free, self-directed courses for grade levels 3-12

Ocean Wise Ocean Literacy Library – resources for educators

Oceans 21 – a series of five ocean profiles from The Conversation focused on sustainability

Online Ocean – at home learning from Ocean Wise

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