GOAL 14 Life below Water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
SDG 14 aims to conserve oceans by ensuring their sustainable use. This includes the safeguarding of marine and coastal ecosystems, conserving at least 10 % of coastal and marine areas as well as preventing and reducing marine pollution and the impacts of ocean acidification.
The conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources also requires an end to overfishing, destructive and/or illegal fishing practices and the abolition of fisheries subsidies, which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
SDG 14 seeks to increase economic benefits to small-island developing states and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources and to provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets. It also highlights the importance of increasing scientific knowledge, research capacity and marine technology for improving ocean health.
Monitoring SDG 14 in an EU context focuses on progress made in advancing marine conservation, in fostering sustainable fishery and in ensuring healthy oceans.
Education for Sustainable Development Goals
Suggestions for the development of specific sustainability competencies from the action-oriented, transformative educational and learning outcome-oriented guide Education for Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO (2017)
Suggested learning objectives
Cognitive learning objectives
- The learner understands basic marine ecology, ecosystems, predator-prey relationships, etc.
- The learner understands the connection of many people to the sea and the life it holds, including the sea’s role as a provider of food, jobs and exciting opportunities.
- The learner knows the basic premise of climate change and the role of the oceans in moderating our climate.
- The learner understands threats to ocean systems such as pollution and overfishing and recognizes and can explain the relative fragility of many ocean ecosystems including coral reefs and hypoxic dead zones.
- The learner knows about opportunities for the sustainable use of living marine resources.
Socio-emotional learning objectives
- The learner is able to argue for sustainable fishing practices.
- The learner is able to show people the impact humanity is having on the oceans (biomass loss, acidification, pollution, etc.) and the value of clean healthy oceans.
- The learner is able to influence groups that engage in unsustainable production and consumption of ocean products.
- The learner is able to reflect on their own dietary needs and question whether their dietary habits make sustainable use of limited resources of seafood.
- The learner is able to empathize with people whose livelihoods are affected by changing fishing practices.
Behavioral learning objectives
- The learner is able to research their country’s dependence on the sea.
- The learner is able to debate sustainable methods such as strict fishing quotas and moratoriums on species in danger of extinction.
- The learner is able to identify, access and buy sustainably harvested marine life, e.g. ecolabel certified products.
- The learner is able to contact their representatives to discuss overfishing as a threat to local livelihoods.
- The learner is able to campaign for expanding no-fish zones and marine reserves and for their protection on a scientific basis.
The hydrosphere: The water cycle, cloud formation, water as the great climate regulator
Management and use of marine resources (renewables and non-renewables): global commons and overfishing, quotas and how they are negotiated, aquaculture, seaweed, mineral resources
Sustainable Marine Energy (renewable energies, wind turbines and their controversy)
Marine ecology – the food web, predators and prey, competition, collapse Coral reefs, coasts, mangroves and their ecological importance
Sea level rise and countries that will experience total or partial loss of land; climate refugees and what a loss of sovereignty will mean
The oceans and international law: international waters, territory disputes, flags of convenience and their related issues
Ocean pollutants: plastics, microbeads, sewage, nutrients and chemicals
The deep ocean and deep-sea creatures
Cultural relationships to the sea – the sea as a source of cultural ecosystem services such as recreation, inspiration and building of cultural identity
Examples of learning approaches and methods
Develop and run a (youth) action project related to life below water
Undertake excursions to coastal sites
Debate sustainable use and management of fishery resources in school
Role-play islanders relocating from their country because of sea-level rise
Conduct a case study about cultural and subsistent relationships with the sea in different countries
Conduct lab experiments to provide students with evidence of ocean acidification
Develop an enquiry-based project: “Do we need the ocean or does the ocean need us?”