Time to give back to the ocean
24/07/2019 By Lisa Williams
Pacific Community Network
"I think the oceans decade is an important initiative. I think it's absolutely essential that we take on the science and research that is needed to deal with a really rapidly changing ocean. And here in the Pacific more than ever, the thing that scares me now at night is that we don't know enough about the impacts of a warming ocean on our livelihoods as Pacific Islanders. We know what it looks like above water, with category five hurricanes from what we are used to, but can only imagine what's happening below”.
“And we know we'll lose a big chunk of our coral reefs. But you add all the other pieces that we've had, that the warming ocean is going to see a shift in ecosystems, a shift in the way species interact with each other. And at this time, no one can tell us what we should be doing, as governments. As communities. Other than the traditional marine protected areas, which may be cutting some of the stressors but we need to urgently know what (we are dealing with) and what we have to do”.
“When it comes to the question of traditional knowledge the so-called primitive science-- and culture having a space alongside science, I just think that that history, as shown and taught, has shaped many practices and individual or community knowledge about certain species and how they interact. So I'm hoping that it gives us a jumpstart...I think it's just the start of personal responsibility by every Pacific Islander. We're dealing with a new generation that may have to be the nurturers of nature, they've got to nurture this ocean, it's not the other way around anymore.
So the decade makes sense." Taholo Kami of Tonga, as Fiji's Special Representative for the Oceans, on the importance of the UN #OceanDecade in 2021.
Lisa William’s story has been developed as part of the Pacific Community Workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. This was made possible through SPC’s Australian funded Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac). COSPPac works to help translate ocean science that is critical and relevant to the Pacific region to better inform evidence based decision making for our climate and oceans.