Bringing the Ocean to Society
23 Jul 2020
Do you know why seagrass meadows are so important?
Discover how the planet’s climate, marine wildlife and environmental balance depend on what lies in the shallows.

“O Mar Dá Bom Clima” (The Sea Gives Good Weather. in Portuguese) is a project carried out by Ocean Alive - Portugal’s first cooperative dedicated to ocean protection - aiming at raising awareness, training and empowerment of teachers, students, and women from the fishing community to the importance of the ocean in combating climate change.

Its main goal is to give an active role to coastal communities around the importance of the ocean in combating climate change, namely through the promotion of active citizenship and advocacy for the protection of seagrass meadows. With this project, Ocean Alive created a relationship with the scientific community and engaged local stakeholders and key players from the national government.

The project focuses on the seagrass meadows of the Sado Estuary, located half-hour South of Lisbon. The degradation of its underwater forests is a matter of concern for Ocean Alive. The rapid depletion of this habitat has led to the scarcity of marine life and contributed to unemployment and devaluation of the fishing community (namely the fisherwomen), as well as to the declining of the Sado Estuary resident dolphin population.

Their website provides an excellent overview on what are seagrass meadows and why they are so important for climate regulation, fisheries, biodiversity, coastal protection, water purification, disease control, and tourism.

But Ocean Alive action also targets the policy-making sphere. On 12 July 2020, they delivered a Position Paper to the Portuguese Minister of the Sea. “Fighting the lack of charisma and awareness about the seagrass meadows ecosystem services” (available here) summarises the main outcomes of the “O Mar Dá Bom Clima” project and pinpoints a number of recommendations to restore and protect a delicate marine environment that not many know of. Ocean Alive details how the seagrass meadows’ conservation and restoration require the engagement of local communities, ocean literacy (for all society including the governance actors), and a science-based decision-making process.

Seagrass meadows exist all over the globe and therefore provide an inestimable service to the planet and humankind. The work carried in Portugal by Ocean Alive can be replicated in many coastal areas.

Discover more about Ocean Alive and how they are working with coastal communities to transform behaviours for ocean protection in their Website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Flickr.