The Blue Society encapsulates a vision for society in which people benefit from the Oceanís vast potential while preserving its environmental integrity. Central to this vision is a system of governance in which the Ocean is recognized as a global common which must be collectively managed across sectors and borders. Education, the effective enforcement of policies, science-informed action and the development of cross-sector partnerships are key components.
There is only one World Ocean and it is fundamental to the planetís natural balance. The ocean is home to millions of undiscovered species. It provides us not only with food and transport but also essential biological, mineral and energy resources. It regulates the climate, it is at the heart of the hydrological cycle and it produces half our oxygen.
The ocean is essential for our security, our health and our well-being. To ensure our future, we need to place the ocean at the heart of our daily lives and of our societies, in a way that enables everyone to benefit from it and live a better life, while at the same time preserving this precious resource and its heritage for future generations. This is what we mean by a Blue Society. We often think of the ocean as separating human communities, from continent to continent, when in fact, it is precisely what links us together.
Our ocean faces major threats: climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, overexploitation and lack of governance. Its tremendous potential is at risk. For example, the ocean absorbed about 93% of the combined extra heat generated by climate change between 1971 and 2010. By doing this, the ocean has already spared us a major change in temperature. But this extra heat is penetrating into the ocean, with its effects recorded up to 3000 m deep. In the long run, this will change the patterns of ocean currents, with dramatic effects on conditions across the globe.
The ocean, however, possesses immense potential for scientific breakthroughs and solutions that can help us to solve todayís environmental, economic and social crises, providing that we restore and preserve the marine environment. We live in an era full of new discoveries, many of them coming from the ocean. New technologies emerge, and many are linked to maritime activities. As such, the gains we make from the ocean are constantly increasing. Europe's coasts, seas and oceans have the potential to be a major source of new jobs and growth. If we count all the economic activities that depend on the sea, the EU's blue economy represents 5.4 million jobs and a gross added value of just under Ä500 billion every year. Through the selective use of innovative solutions and positive experiences, we can benefit from ocean resources without causing additional harm.
The concept of a Blue Society emerged from the EU-funded project Sea for Society. Through direct consultation with stakeholders, citizens and youth across Europe, deeper insight was gained into the barriers that hinder the achievement of a sustainable marine ecosystem. These included misguided attitudes and lack of awareness, insufficient information and a need for coordinated and integrated governance and strategy. Ideas emerged on how to overcome these barriers and appreciate the benefits of a sustainable, productive Ocean.
As this campaign evolves, we will bring you more information on the outcomes of the Europe-wide consultation, inform you of upcoming Blue Society Events and tell you how you can get involved in this ambitious new movement that will shape the future of our society, for the better.