Seeing the importance of the sea

SeaWeek 2023 is being celebrated throughout Australia from March 4 to 12. This year’s theme is Ocean Literacy Principle #1: Planet Earth – The ocean and its interconnected systems. The week coincides with Clean Up Australia Day which was held on Sunday.


SeaWeek Australia is linked to the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) the ‘science we need for the ocean we want’. Ocean Decade is coordinated by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).


SeaWeek began in 1987 at the Marine Discovery Centre in Queenscliff, Victoria as an art competition and included an educational kit of marine activities and information brochures.


The ocean covers around 70 per cent of the planet and is home to the majority of life on earth. It is responsible for around 70 per cent of the oxygen we breath, as well as absorption of carbon dioxide, climate regulation, jobs, food, waste removal, marine transport, medicine, travel, recreation and fun.


The importance of the ocean to our long-term survival is therefore crucial.


Pope Francis, speaking at the Our Ocean Conference in Panama recently, said, “Our understanding of the complex and amazing mechanisms and balances of the oceans allows us to appreciate the role they play for everyone, not just coastal communities”.


All people depend on the oceans and are rightly considered the “common heritage” of humanity, the pontiff said. The oceans were given to us “as a gift from the Creator”, and we must therefore work to use them fairly and sustainably in order to pass them on to future generations.


There are 7 principles of Ocean Literacy that scientists and educators agree people need to understand about the ocean.

  • The Earth has one big ocean with many features
  • The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth
  • The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate
  • The ocean makes Earth habitable
  • The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
  • The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected
  • The ocean is largely unexplored.


Promoted by the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE), SeaWeek Australia is a major public awareness campaign focusing on encouraging an understanding of and appreciation for the ocean and all things related to the sea.


Schools and educators use SeaWeek Australia as a focal point for studies across a wide range of curriculum themes and can use the event to inspire children through ocean themed activities.


More details from:


Listen to our Figuring out Families podcast with environmentalist Josie Jones, Australian of the Year 2020 Local Victorian Hero at: 


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