The theme for Seaweek 13 is ‘Sustainable Seas’. The theme provides a focus for students in schools and for communities to inform and inspire them about the diversity of our marine and coastal environments and how, through good management and individual action, we can all contribute towards the sustainability of these environments .
Highlight the sustainable management of Australia’s marine environment;
Identify factors that threaten the sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems;
Facilitate the communication of sustainable marine management projects to the education community;
Initiate interest and actions for supporting sustainable marine management that help us learn more about and contribute towards the sustainability of our marine and coastal environments; and
Provide schools with educational resources available on the MESA website for school’s classroom based activities.
Australia’s marine and coastal environment contains unique, diverse and fragile ecosystems and species. As Australians, this environment gives us a strong social and cultural identity and its resources yield substantial economic value. Yet, there are many gaps in the knowledge and understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of our marine environment.
Population growth, coastal development and industry are placing growing pressure on the sustainability of our aquatic resources and marine biodiversity across coast and marine estate.
Is it possible to co-exist in an acceptable balance? This challenge is referred to as Ecologically Sustainable Development or ESD – a balance between economic, social and environmental values.
A greater understanding of our ecosystems gained by up-to-date science, innovative management across a range of organisations and the support of the community to foster sustainable attitudes and behaviours can lead us on the right path forward.
Sustainability of the marine environment presents all Australians with a complex challenge and many tough decisions based on our economic, social and environmental values.
Broadly, sustainability is the ability to maintain a certain state or process indefinitely. In terms of the natural environment, sustainability is an ecosystems’ ability to maintain ecological processes and functions, biological diversity and productivity over time. Factoring in the requirements of humans, sustainability can be defined as using ecosystems and their resources in a manner that satisfies current human needs without compromising the needs, or options, of future generations.
Addressing sustainability in the marine environment involves protecting biodiversity and maintaining essential ecological processes.
Factors that can threaten marine biodiversity include: