GEOMAR calls for consistent action for marine protection

The ocean is also known as the planet’s blue lungs. It produces much of the oxygen we breathe. At the same time, it absorbs and stores carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, helping us mitigate man-made climate change and regulate the climate. Yet its health is on the line – plastic waste, acidification, and species extinction are just some of the serious problems we have to face. To draw attention to this alarming state, to focus on its importance to humans and to protect it in a sustainable way, the United Nations has declared June 8 World Ocean Day. This year, the theme of the day is “Revitalization – Collective Action for the Ocean.”
“Protecting the ocean is a global challenge,” confirms Professor Dr. Katja Matthes, Director of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. “Such an effort can only be achieved together – in international cooperation and pulling together. With its research, GEOMAR is making an important contribution to better understanding the ocean and its close connection to the climate, and translating this understanding into action. An expertise that also has an impact at the political level.”
For example, GEOMAR is represented by leading climate and ocean scientists at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1, and is also collaborating at the national and international level on the UN Decade of Ocean Research for Sustainable Development.
“Maintaining a healthy ocean with its diversity, its beauty and also its benefits for humans is the goal of our research,” Katja Matthes continued. “There is not an infinite amount of time to do this. Therefore, the keyword ‘Action’ is well chosen as the motto of this year’s World Ocean Day. This also includes proactively sensitizing and inspiring new generations for the relevance of the ocean. This is where GEOMAR shows its strengths in knowledge transfer.”
For instance, the UNESCO Chair of Interdisciplinary Marine Sciences, which has been co-staffed since this year by Professor Dr. Arne Körtzinger, Head of the Research Unit Chemical Oceanography at GEOMAR, and Professor Dr. Silja Klepp from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, will contribute to this goal. The UNESCO Chairs are part of a worldwide network in over 110 countries. They are established to promote the strengthening of international cooperation, networking and knowledge exchange. Their goal is to build bridges between science, civil society, local communities, research and policy.
The Chair of Interdisciplinary Marine Sciences focuses on the education of students and young scientists in the West Africa region, as well as on the expansion of the international research cooperation.