The ocean ecosystem is the one system that connects us all, wherever we are on the planet. The World Ocean Observatory was created by Peter Neill to provide a universally accessible internet space for information and education about the ocean. Their goal is to connect all people through the sea. We interviewed Founder and Director, Peter Neill, to find out how their incredible volume of information is effecting change, and about an exciting new interactive game in the works!
Parvati Magazine: What is the World Ocean Observatory?
Peter Neill: The World Ocean Observatory (W2O) is a major utility for ocean communication as a means to advance public awareness and political will, and is dedicated to providing information and education about the health of the ocean. We believe that informed citizens worldwide can unite to sustain the ocean through mitigation and change of human behavior on land and sea. Our focus is the full spectrum of ocean issues: climate, fresh water, food, energy, trade, transportation, public health, finance, governance, security, recreation, and culture. It is our belief that the sea connects all things.
PMAG: Can you give us some examples of how the information World Ocean Observatory (WOO) provides creates international collaboration?
PN: W2O advocates for the ocean through responsible science-based information, educational services, communications tools, and social media. We maintain and expand an inclusive website, produce World Ocean Radio (syndicated broadcast, 455 editions to date), publish World Ocean Journal (annual digital magazine), distribute World Ocean Forum (contributions by ocean leaders worldwide), and much more. Our social media reach is extensive, more than 620,000 followers on Facebook alone.
PMAG: The oceans’ health is at a tipping point. As someone with access to worldwide ocean activity, what positive programs or action do you notice that give you hope?
PN: W2O is building a global community of Citizens of the Ocean, numbering in the millions. When we secure a global international understanding and political will regarding ocean conservation and sustainability, then we will see a healthier ocean system. Citizens of the Ocean is a growing network of informed individuals motivated by a love of the ocean and an understanding that we are all connected and that together we can defend and sustain the ocean for the future. United we can protect the contributions made by the ocean to human survival worldwide. Readers can take the pledge here to make an ocean of change.
PMAG: You currently have a Kickstarter campaign for W2O’s new interactive educational game called World Ocean Explorer. Tell us more about the vision of how the World Ocean Explorer game can encourage “change in human behaviour on land and sea”.
PN: World Ocean Explorer is our latest, ambitious educational endeavor, a virtual aquarium and manned submersible by which users in the classroom, environmental groups, and other individuals can explore the ocean and develop their ocean literacy formally or informally, without the barriers of physical buildings and cost. Users of Explorer will be as vast, as dynamic, and deserving as the ocean itself.
PMAG: What else would you like us to know about World Ocean Explorer?
PN: Above all, World Ocean Explorer is a democratic place. Through crowdfunding, you are its founders, its designers, contributors, builders, teachers, students, and its audience. It is to be shared by family, friends, and strangers the world over; the millions who otherwise would have little or no access to the all-encompassing connection and meaning of our ocean planet
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory and is author of “The Once and Future Ocean: Notes Toward a New Hydraulic Society.” He is also the host of World Ocean Radio, a weekly podcast addressing ocean issues.