New Website Explores Last Great Wilderness

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman
New Website Explores Last Great Wilderness

NEW YORK,NY - December 13, 2005 - The World Ocean Observatory, dedicated to public education about the world's oceans, announced today the establishment of its website -- an online place of exchange for ocean information and educational services.

The World Observatory, a project of the New York based Open Space Institute, was a recommendation of the 1998 Independent Commission on the Future of the Oceans, said Observatory founder and director, Peter Neill. “It was envisioned as a singular focus and center for ocean information, combining many disciplines and points of view.”

The interactive site comprises four elements: The Physical Ocean, an encyclopedic survey incorporating the United Nations Atlas of the Oceans and other repositories of ocean information; The World Ocean Directory, a theme-indexed listing of over 5,000 ocean-related organizations worldwide; The World Ocean Forum, a news and media service, monthly electronic newsletter on ocean subjects, publications, meetings, and on-line exhibits; and, The World Ocean Classroom, an education center and outreach program.

These resources are accessible to the general public and will be further shared through partnerships with existing history and children's museums, science centers, aquaria, libraries, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and other educational institutions around the world.

The Observatory addresses the ocean as “an integrated global social system” and looks beyond issues of marine species and habitats to address the ocean in relation to climate, fresh water, energy, food production, public health, trade, transportation, international finance, recreation, culture, governance and the laws of the sea.

“We must understand the ocean as a coherent, connecting force,” said Neill. “It is not an adversary, but rather a global environmental system that, if nurtured and sustained, has tremendous implications for many aspects of human survival.” The devastation of the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are tragic demonstrations of the ocean's negative powers. “We cannot control such force,” argued Neill, “but we can convert it to positive energy, to feed us, to provide new sources of heat and light, to discover new medicines, and to maintain the cultural connections between peoples that has always been a major part of world history.”

The Observatory's activities are intended to be non-litigious, independent and apolitical, to promote civil discourse, peace and security on the ocean, to affect the inter-generational transfer of knowledge, and to reach the largest possible audience worldwide with the greatest effect and economy of scale.

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Mission of the World Ocean Observatory:

To expand public awareness of the implication of the ocean for the future of human survival. To serve as a central place of exchange for ocean information, education and public discourse. To serve as an independent forum and focus for ocean affairs.

To advocate for the ocean through an open, worldwide network of communication. To provide a window on the future of the ocean for the general public and decision-makers around the world.

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