Ocean acidification: Connecting science, industry, policy and public
A powerful short film on Ocean acidification: Connecting science, industry, policy and public.
Ocean acidification is a recently recognised phenomenon which results from the growing quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere. Much of this gas is being absorbed at the ocean surface, pushing seawater down the pH scale towards acidity and posing a potential threat to marine ecosystems and those dependent on them. As scientific research reveals more about how the oceans and the life they contain might be affected, there is a need to engage with a wider community including policy makers, environmental managers and the general public to understand what is happening, how we might be affected and what actions could be taken to reduce any risks.
The film brings together a wide range of stakeholders including, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, school children, a Plymouth fishmonger, a UK government Chief Scientific Adviser, representatives from industry and policy making departments, as well as a group of internationally recognised expert scientists.
It has become obvious that each of the interest groups has its own concerns and level of understanding. Dr Carol Turley OBE, who led the film production team at PML in her role as Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme, explains this can lead to confusion and misunderstanding:
"Scientists are reticent to make long-term predictions until they have a sound scientific basis for doing so; policy makers often require immediate answers that can lead to timely solutions, while industry needs to plan ahead; and the public want to know how they may be affected and what is being done to face any likely threats. Such a diversity of information requirements sounds like a recipe for confusion. This film highlights the need for clear communication at the earliest opportunity to ensure that all stakeholder groups go forwards with an understanding of each others' positions and responsibilities, by using a real example of how this is already working within the ocean acidification community."
Although the final impacts are still not clear, ocean acidification is relatively newly recognised, happening now and should be a concern for all of us as it has the potential to affect everyone. However, making sure the message gets through can be a real challenge. Speaking the same language, understanding the different requirements of the various interest groups and accepting the importance of working together is the first step.