Just in case you missed it last month…In advance of World Oceans Day The Ocean Project released the results from a sweeping new national survey. America, the Ocean, and Climate Change: New Research Insights for Conservation, Awareness, and Action surveyed over 22,000 Americans on a comprehensive range of ocean- and environment-related topics. It is the largest environmental survey ever conducted.Funding for the survey was provided through an Environmental Literacy Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and through collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the National Aquarium.
The report indicates that Americans’ knowledge about the ocean is limited, and concern about environmental issues affecting the ocean is a low priority compared with issues such as the economy and national security. While the poll also finds that climate change is the single environmental issue of greatest concern to the public, people are largely unaware of the connection between climate change, carbon pollution and ocean health.
Despite low levels of ocean literacy, when asked, Americans say they support protecting the health of the ocean and the environment. In a significant shift from views expressed in a 1999 survey also commissioned by The Ocean Project, Americans now believe that their individual actions can have a positive effect on protecting the environment and improving the health of the ocean. They are ready to act but are not sure what to do. Likewise, the public expects zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to communicate solutions to environmental and ocean issues while advancing conservation.
The survey has important implications for how ZAMs can be more effective in achieving their goals. Significantly, the public looks to ZAMs to be leaders for conservation action. People are looking to ZAMs to suggest practical steps that will make a difference for the ocean and our environment. Clearly, the research shows that ZAMs have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference, and the time is now.
Additional tracking surveys have been commissioned by The Ocean Project to provide updates every six months. The first tracking survey results will be available in September. More information about the survey including the summary report is available at: www.TheOceanProject.org.