How can we use the plastic debate as a catalyst to increase ocean literacy?



On 4th and 5th of December 2018, ResponSEAble participated in the marine science communication conference CommOcean in Southampton, that was organized by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the European Marine Board.
Over 100 participants – scientists, NGO representatives and policy makers – from all over the world gathered to discuss the status-quo and the opportunities to improve marine science communication and ocean literacy. Numerous campaigns, communication tools and success stories to raise awareness about the oceans and humans’ connection and responsibility to protect them were shared and discussed. Presenters shared a colourful bouquet of communication formats such as scrollytelling, tiny letter newsletters and international social media campaigns and reported about the struggles they faced when doing outreach while being on expeditions at sea.

ResponSEAble shared two different communications: the project partners UBO, Océanopolis and ACTeon presented the quiz game “The Ocean and Me”. Displayed as poster, the partners Baltic Environmental Forum (offices in Germany, Estonia, Lativa), GRID Arendal and the Institute of Oceanology showed the main findings of the key story eutrophication and agriculture.

“How can we use the plastic debate as a catalyst to increase ocean literacy?”, was one of the main questions provoking vibrant discussions during the two-day conference.
As ocean communicators, it is now our urgent task to learn from successful campaigns – that are currently mainly addressing plastic pollution – to raise awareness for threats that are less visible to the public. Threats such as unstainable fishing practises, ecosystem invasion of alien species or death zones caused by nutrient pollution.
Wherever and whenever humans and oceans interact, there is a chance for humans to increase their welfare and a danger for the oceans to become exploited. Let us become ocean literate and treat the oceans with greater respect. Let us be responsSEAble!

The webinars : still on going, register to attend !


How can we encourage Europeans to take a closer interest in their seas and to treat them with greater respect?

  • What knowledge do they need?
  • Who needs to know what ? 
  • How we should communicate it?
  • Which conditions for translating “better knowledge” into acts?
  • By generating greater public debate and knowledge, ResponSEAble project, intends to support all sectors of European society to develop a more informed and responsible attitude and help secure healthier and more sustainable seas.We are inviting you to our  series of interactive webinars to discuss how to collectively build effective ocean literacy in Europe!

    Why you should attend?

    The webinars aimed at sharing views , challenges and best practices on ocean literacy in all its dimensions, widening the European community of ocean literacy practitioners.

    If you are

    • Involved in developing communication tools about the marine environment or the sustainable development of maritime sectors
    • Developing strategies for raising awareness for specific target groups on the human-sea interactions;
    • Scientist involved in education initiatives on the sea with educators and civil society organisations, children and youths;
    • Manager, planner, economic actor or concerned citizen interested in “making things better”

    You will have views and questions to share in our webinars in connection with others working on the same challenges. Together, we might discover practical solutions on how to build more effective Ocean Literacy in Europe (and across the Atlantic).

    When it will take place?

    • The webinars will take place every second Thursday of the month (except July and August)  and start at 4 pm CET.
    • Duration of each webinar is 1 hour

    How you can participate?

    Please register at the link below for the webinar you would like to attend. The information about the webinar will be sent to you.

    Save the dates and register!

A learning game for Ocean Literacy and education to sustainability

How much plastic is discharged every day in the ocean? What does eutrophication mean? Why are the sandy beaches increasingly smaller? And what can we do to improve the health of the marine environment? Knowing the answers to these questions means to become “ocean literate”. Those who live far from the sea may not be aware of the impact that our daily choices have on the marine ecosystem and we may not know how much the sea, which covers about 70% of the globe, contributes to our wellbeing by regulating the climate and providing oxygen and nourishment.

The aim of the game is to conquer all the stages of the game by solving the quizzes presented in the five Stories. You navigate the archipelago and overcome various challenges, related to the health of our ocean and the connected value chain. In the journey, you can get more points and rest a bit with some mini-games. Once you have completed all the challenges of the game, you will be able to take a selfie and it will be published on the starting screen of the game: it will be the way to show your commitment safeguarding our Ocean.

The game lends itself very well to personal use at the same time as a teaching resource in the classroom, for example, discussing materials and questions.

The game is free, without advertising and does not collect personal data and is available in the stores for Android and IOS(iPhone/iPad).

android ios

For further information contact

Workshop in Lisbon on Ocean Literacy


The event brought together about 30 people from different organizations working with ocean literacy in Portugal (from schools and university educators, research projects to other practitioners, NGOs, etc). The workshop was organized by Celia Quico (Lusofona University) to share the findings of the H2020 project ResponSEAble and to understand Portugeese perspective.

Pierre Strosser (ACteon) opend the workshop with questions about ocean literacy – what type of knowledge do we need,  for whom and link between ocean literacy and behaviour change – ‘even if I am know, will I act? ‘Taking a look at the images in the room of the museum ‘XXx’ he highlighted the importance of understanding the story of what is important to know for people to change their behaviour: what economic activities, what drives us to certain activities, how this changes the state and the impact, and what is a response.

In presentations and discussions the importance of different channels for targeting different audiences was highlighted – illustration brought by Erik Bogaard (ProSea) working with fishermen, and trust/preference of certain channels over others was presented;

The participants were taken out to try out ‘ocean literacy ‘game – presented by Johanna Ballé-Béganton ( UBO/Oceanopolis)  – which gave another example and approach how to engage with different audiences (first time piloted during the World Ocean Day in Porte Dorée Aquarium in Paris.

Importance of assessing effectiveness was raised by Matthew ASHLEY, University of Plymouth and one of the conclusions of the workshop was to apply the approach in the future – to help understanding and improving the way the ocean literacy products (courses, media, etc..) is produced and applied..

The workshop was completed with a quiz  – where participants were invited to test their knowledge in a interactive form with mobile phone –

As a results : it doesn’t help to know whether you are good about the facts about the ocean. Most of the information that is usually checked in the quizes doesn’t help us to change our behaviour.

It is viewed by many participants as a good way to raise these issues.

After the workshop, participants were invited to visit the museum.

Connecting People to Their Oceans: Issues and Options for Effective Ocean Literacy


In collaboration with the journal Frontiers in Marine Science we are bringing together a selected group of international experts to contribute to an open-access article collection on this on the issues and options for effective OL worldwide.

It discusses:

  1. existing experiences in OL (formal and informal education for children, training for professionals, tools for raising awareness of consumers  – and of investors in the marine sectors…) and their effectiveness (from understanding better to acting differently)
  2. the role OL could play (in interaction with innovation, regulation, economic incentive, social norms…) to support human capital development as key component of sustainable growth;
  3. pre-conditions for effective OL for different sectors and target groups.

Questions relevant to OL include: Which knowledge  – produced by whom  – to share and how? Who to target  – and how to effectively reach those targeted? How to design OL initiatives  – including by mobilizing those targeted (via living lab approaches e.g.)  – to ensure effective OL and pave the way for behavior change? What are the knowledge gaps that limit our capacity to design effective OL? As scientists, it is likely you have many more questions to offer and discuss.

It is expected that contributions will: (a) come from marine scientists, educators, training specialists, psychologists and social scientists, marine governance and sector policy specialists…; (b) cover different seas with clear cultural and sea-connection differences  – with some experiences from outside Europe used as source of inspiration; (c) investigate different scales  – from local to large scale such as countries or entire socio-economic value chains; (d) address the science-policy interface  relevant to OL, discussing how policy(ies) might be adapted to better support effective OL.

Editorial team:

Dr. Angel Borja,   Dr. Francesca Santoro,  Dr. Gail Scowcroft,  Dr. Stephen Fletcher, and  Dr. Pierre Strosser


30 September 2018 – Abstract

15 December  2018 – Manuscript


ResponSEAble films at PELICAM film festival


The seventh edition of Pelicam – International Film Festival on Environment and People took place in Tulcea, Romania, at the gate of Danube Delta, between June 21 – 24, 2018. More than 40 environmental documentaries were lined up, together with debates, exhibitions, workshops, concerts and many other events. The program of the festival was more diversified than ever. Between the films from the competitions, there were special screenings, workshops, discussions and book releases

The European Commission chose Tulcea and the Pelicam festival to officially launch the EUandME campaign in Romania a campaign that aims to bring young people closer to European values.

Program of the screenings was very versatile, and among many others included: Among the Untamed Romania (Tom Barton -Humphreys, Romania, 2018); Weit: The Story of a Journey Around the World (Gwendolin Weisser, Patrick Allgaier, Germany, 2017); Not Without Us! (Sigrid Klausmann, Germany, 2016) and Sea of Life (Julia Barnes, Canada, 2017), Bluefish (Mert Gökalp, Turkey/Portugal/UK/Greece/Croatia, 2017), How Expensive Is Nature? (Daan Veldhuizen, Netherlands, 2017).

RESPONSEABLE short films (Rethinking Plastic and Responsible tourism) were screened throughout the frstival (June 21-23) at the opening and closure of the each of the days, and were watched by thousands of participants and guests from Romania from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Armenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey.

The films are now available in English and Romanian languages.

Two days in the European Maritime Day 2018 in Burgas


ResponSEAble project organized a workshop on Ocean Literacy at the EMD 2018 in Burgas.

The workshop gained a lot of attention, and despite the heat and being later in the day it drew a lot of people.

Workshop addressed the following issues:

  • What are current Ocean Literacy initiatives – for and with marine professionals?
  • What are the main challenges faced by Ocean Literacy (and for whom)? And what are the solutions for overcoming them?
  • What are pre-conditions for effective Ocean Literacy so its play its due role in supporting more sustainable behaviour/practice?

Tim Haasnoot (ProSea and ResponSEAble Project) has presented an example of how to do ocean literacy with professionals (fishers), what work and what doesn’t and engaged participants of the workshop into trying some of the tools that were developed by ProSea.

In the second part, in the round-table discussion panelists discussed if OL (capacity building & awareness raising) receive sufficient attention in today’s policies (not limited to only marine ones), provided practical illustrations of ‘good practice’ from their sectors (including tourism and super yachts) and discussed what needs to be changed so that Ocean Literacy better supports sustainable blue growth.


Key messages from the workshop !

  • Ocean Literacy (OL) is only at its start! Despite that, there are already many initiatives and good practice out there, that can be used as source of inspiration by all sectors of society (professionals, NGOs, scientists, decision makers…). OL for ‘financial investors’ and for consumers/visiting tourists, and mobilising the media, have been mentioned as areas requiring further attention.
  • However, more (lasting) support to OL, soft measures and strengthening human capital, is required in policies connected to the sea to support their implementation and to contribute to Blue Growth Common platforms involving the private sector (building on its knowledge, recognising its challenges, ensuring common understanding/trust/agenda and building on positive messages) is the starting point of co-developed and effective OL that deliver change in mindset and change in practice/behaviour.
  • Success needs to combine local initiatives adapted to local contexts with the involvement of ‘big players’ of sectors as part of strategic partnerships – as they can be ‘role models’ and multipliers. Incentives to get involved relate to economic interest (e.g. development of new sustainable business models), having clear benefits, image and access to markets, capacity/interest in spreading innovation…

Throwback to World Oceans Day 2018 in Paris


For the Ocean celebration, the Tropical Aquarium in Paris welcomed over 11,400 visitors over the weekend. The bet was won for the Aquarium, which wanted to take the World Oceans Day behind the scenes of experts and make it an event open to all! Many free activities were offered: stands, conferences (led by Fred from the show “It’s not rocket science!”) and a visit to the Aquarium.

The Ocean celebration went well 7th to 10th of June with Océanopolis, UBO and ACTeon teams. The Thursday and Friday were devoted to primary classes up to high school students (7 to 17 years). A game around 7 themes was conducted with many classes during these two days!

Rules of the game proposed:

  • In the first time, two teams are formed. A participant is chosen from one of the teams to throw the ball on the poster.
  • A poster is constituted of 7 targets each representing a theme (coastal tourism, plastics, pollution, biodiversity, invasive species, marine renewable energies, fisheries and sustainable aquaculture). A ball is given to the participant who must aim for, at a distance close enough to the poster, one of these categories (where Velcro is attached to hold the ball). The participant has 3 possible tries otherwise he has a challenge.
  • If one of the categories is selected with the ball, a question is chosen by the host and posed by the adverse team.
  • Once each team has played several times, students form groups of 2 or 3 students. They have to find together a solution for the Ocean: either what they could do them, every day, or what they would like that governments or companies implement. Then, each group writes their ideas on a small piece of paper that will then be sticked to the “Wall of Solutions”. This is an opportunity to discuss with the groups, and to think about the topics discussed during the game before.

Professional posters were also produced by the ResponSEAble team for this event and different kinds of goodies (bookmarks and postcards).

From Saturday to Sunday, the general public could come to learn more about ResponSEAble, participate in this game and propose, through a “Wall of Solutions”, their ideas to improve the state of the oceans. During the days open to the general public, the role of the facilitator becomes even more important: he has to be able to adapt his speech according to the age and the knowledge of the person (often from 4 to 5 years old), but also to adapt the rules of the game. From the child of 4 year old who wants to know why we have to forbid single-use plastic to the biology teacher who comes looking for information on different subjects, the public is very varied with very interesting discussions!

ResponSEAble Seminar: Eutrophication beyond 2020


Responseable seminarResponSEAble will hold a seminar “Eutrophication beyond 2020: Rewriting the old fairy tale – new pathways to a happy ending” on 4th June 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia aiming at adding ocean literacy to the forthcoming update of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea (EUSBSR).

We want to put on the table of the seminar what is NOT common knowledge and break people’s preconceived views, to set a different picture on eutrophication to nourish the debate.

We want to invite key actors key that produce Baltic Sea literacy and for a review of their processes, policies and campaigns with new eyes and a new system.

The seminar is accompanying the 9th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR taking place in Tallinn, 4-5 June 2018.