Broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough has graced our screens for more than 60 years highlighting the wonders and changing shape of the planet through innovative documentary series as well as acting as a climate action champion.
A now the results of the largest ocean literacy survey ever undertaken in England and Wales has revealed that Attenborough
– a CIWEM Honorary Fellow who has recently been named the COP26 People's Advocate – has had a positive impact on ocean awareness.
Published by the Ocean Conservation Trust and Defra, the research highlighted the effect that popular series such as Blue Planet and the ‘Attenborough effect’ may have had on people's understanding of the threats facing our seas. It showed that 47 per cent of those questioned had got information on the state of our oceans from wildlife documentaries.
Further insights from the survey reveal that 78 per cent of the public had or are planning to make changes to their lifestyle to support marine conservation. This has been prompted by concern about climate change (69 per cent) and a desire to be greener (68 per cent).
The research also revealed that those surveyed felt that the UK's coastlines had had a positive impact on both their physical health (80 per cent) and mental health (84 per cent).
And when it came to what the public felt was the biggest threat to the marine environment marine litter and plastic pollution came out on top (74 per cent) followed by chemical pollution (57 per cent) and overfishing (54 per cent).
On the survey findings Ocean Conservation Trust head of conservation education and communications Nicola Bridge said:
“As the Ocean conservation charity working to develop this survey, we are thrilled to learn that more of the public are understanding climate change and its link to human actions. It is especially important to learn from this work to push for increased protection of our Ocean during UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.”
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow added:
“It is clear people feel a strong connection with our beautiful ocean and coastlines. This is not only really welcome it is also so important if we are to tackle the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and preserve our marine environment for future generations to enjoy.
"The UK is a global leader in marine protection. We have already established a ‘blue belt’ of marine protection extending across 38 per cent of UK waters and are using our COP26 and G7 Presidencies to put ocean recovery at the heart of international action.”
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